were invited to the Deerpark 9/11 Memorial Service on 9/11, where they were part of the ceremony. They hung ribbons for people who were lost in the 9/11 attacks. They listened to the Port Jervis High School choir and band. People were invited to step onto the podium to tell their stories. Then they were invited inside for refreshments and they interviewed people from the Bronx Fire Department and the New York City Fire Department.
Chris Edwards was a firefighter with the Bronx’s 81st Ladder Company during the 9/11 attacks. He talked about helping to get people out of the rubble. He has since retired and now does a lot of volunteer work helping people across the country through natural disasters.
He remembers when he heard about what happened. He said he was afraid for his children, but relaxed when he learned they were locked up. He then felt that he could head for the towers. He had to go to the hospital to cancel an appointment with his doctor. He noted hundreds of people waiting in line to donate blood to help the victims. His doctor asked him to let him know if his family had been found.
He recalled driving and listening to the radio and hearing that the second tower had been hit by a plane, everyone driving stopped their cars in disbelief. People were crying and in shock. He said he wanted the children to know that evil was bad but good was great for the nation on that day and for months after. The nation has come together, regardless of race, religion, Republican or Democrat age. People were helping each other and coming together. He said we need more these days.
Next, the students met Lt. Rennish. During his interview, students asked where he was when he first heard about the attacks. He was taking care of his father when he told him to watch television. When asked if he was afraid of the attacks, he replied no; He was angry. He called it a horrible tragedy and should not be forgotten. After the attacks, he felt more passionate about his work in the fire department.
The students asked how to keep the memory of 9/11. He suggested talking about good and bad. When asked how to prevent this from happening again, he replied that unfortunately we couldn’t. He went to the National September 11th Memorial Museum in New York with his wife. He said it was hard to lose his friends and brothers.
Initially, he wanted to be a policeman, but he became a firefighter. When asked if he wanted to return to work after the tragedy, he said it gave him courage and the fight to get back there.
Many lessons were learned that day and continue to teach and educate new people every day. Journalists are not born yet, but they will never forget what they have learned and will continue to talk about what happened.
Story contributed by Emily Giblin, Patrick Tamplin, Sekai Jones, Connor Stewart and Kendall Eckert