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    • Hopkins gathered for a remembrance Assembly.

Hopkins Remembers 9/11 on 20th Anniversary

Kallie Schmeisser '22 Lead News Editor Conor Tomasulo '24 Assistant Editor-At-Large
September 11, 2021 was the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as well as the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 which, diverted by brave passengers, crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Many of Hopkins's faculty vividly recall September 11, 2001. Librarian Debbie Dubois was working at Hopkins when the attacks occurred. “I came to work at...7:30, as usual, that day. Everything was going along as normal. My phone rang and it was my husband who told me a small plane hit one of the towers - at least that was the initial thought. It was an accident. Shortly after DJ Plante...came in with a TV on a tall cart and set it up in the library classroom...students started coming to the library to see what was happening. We all stood and watched in horror as the second strike happened. The day itself was emotionally exhausting, trying to keep students and teachers alike comforted and calm." In 2001, access to the Internet, and the information within, was far more limited than it is today. Instead of getting their news through phones or computers, the students and faculty of Hopkins got information on the attacks while crowded around a few TVs on campus.

History teacher Daniel Levy, who was working in New York, recalls, “I remember looking out the window with the kids and seeing smoke coming from the Towers...I managed to get on one of the last trains going back into Manhattan. I vividly remember the train ride as we went over the Manhattan Bridge. I was surrounded by people of many different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and probably religions, and we were all eerily quiet. Many had tears in their eyes. I think it was probably the best depiction of what it means to be an American I have ever had.”

For students, the events of 9/11 can seem somewhat far off. Lara Jasaitis ’22 states, “Often, understanding the appalling events and being able to relate personally [is] confus[ing]. We, as students, feel the momentousness of the day without being able to immediately connect.” Jasaitis hopes there are ways for folks her age to internalize the true importance of 9/11: “I think one of the biggest obstacles is for older generations to be able to pass on the feelings, stories, and depictions to the younger generations [so] as to not only not forget but also not to let this become just another part of our history as a nation.”

Charlie Wich ’22 thinks proximity and education are key in his understanding of 9/11: “Although the attacks were twenty years ago, they still feel recent and weighty partly because of how they’ve been taught to me, but also because of how close New York is to Hopkins...Since I personally wasn’t alive at the time of these attacks, I have relied heavily on teachers to educate me."

Jasaitis and Wich agree that they need their teachers in order to learn and understand the significance of 9/11. Similarly, Hopkins faculty and staff wrestle with providing the context necessary to reflect on all the consequences that stemmed from that day. English teacher Ian Melchinger states, “I'd like our students to consider the heartbreaking rate of suicide among people who served in the military during our country's response to this horrible attack... Those good people have seen and experienced things that we can only guess at.” Melchinger, citing the role violence plays in American culture, continues: “We get very moved and excited by the most explicit and violent moments of a crisis, but the purpose of school and scholarship is to perceive the forces that move those waves
to crest."

Levy reflects on the messages often attached to the attacks and America’s War on Terror: “Military force alone won’t make us safer, nor will oversimplifying what motivates people who hate our country. Saying that they attacked America because they hate our freedoms is such an oversimplification that it does not get us anywhere."

Librarian James Gette thinks it is possible for America to move past the post-9/11 era: “I'm not sure if you [all] can understand how much more fear there was, and how it was a driving force of the country for a long time. Maybe it still is. But it doesn't always have to be that way.”

English teacher Terence Mooney suggests that reflecting is how we might understand the lessons of 9/11, “I hope we can heed the many voices framing history, not as past but prologue, and not even passed; all of us continue to be shaped by forces beyond our very lives. As an increasingly interconnected global society, perhaps that might remind each of us the value of humility when facing humanity—when facing one another and ourselves alike.”
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Zach Williamson

Managing Editor 
Anjali Subramanian

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Kallie Schmeisser
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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