Thursday, September 12, 2013
On Sept. 11, 2001, most high school seniors were 5 years old.
For schools like Pinewood Preparatory, that means the majority of its student body can’t remember the events of that day 12 years ago when almost 3,000 innocent people died in attacks against this country.
But that doesn’t mean the students can’t appreciate its importance or learn a lesson from the events.
The school’s 9/11 Day of Remembrance was designed to do just that. Starting at 8:30 a.m., students from almost all grade levels gathered in the Francis S. Josephson Liberty Garden for a color guard presented by local first responders.
Headmaster Steve Mandell gave brief remarks on the day’s significance and the school’s tributes to patriotism: the Liberty Garden is filled with sculptural busts of famous world leaders who’ve worked toward peace and a section of the campus features art and landscaping commemorating the Sept. 11 events.
“This has become a really special event,” Mandell said.
A poetry reading and choral performance followed as students made their way from the garden to the gymnasium for the keynote speaker.
The school chose Lt. Col. Alice “Tally” Parham, a former fighter pilot in the South Carolina Air National Guard, as this year’s speaker. She has been the keynote speaker of the event once before, exactly 10 years ago.
She spoke to the students about her experiences in combat after the 9/11 attacks and the emotions involved. In whole, she spoke about fear.
“Fight terror by not being afraid,” she encouraged. “Fight terror by not being terrified.”
“What would we do if we were not afraid? We would be free.”
The guidance Lt. Col. Parham offered poignantly tied in with the school’s goal for its students: to learn from others’ mistakes, to remember the past and to use it to shape their future.
In his closing remarks, Mandell made this hope clear.
“We’re here to ensure that you as the next generation not only imagine a world without war, but that it becomes your reality.”