The Remembrance of 9/11


September 11, 2001, was a very tragic yet essential day. This day taught many different lessons and brought many other people from multiple areas to work together. Although this day happened 21 years ago, it is still crucial for everyone to remember. Every year Imagine Prep has an event to remember this day. Students and staff gather around the flag and listen to the guest speaker as they tell their point of view of what happened on that chaotic day. This year an assembly was held during first hour to share the importance of 9/11 to every high school student that attends Imagine Prep. Our older generation must share their perspective on that day so the memories of the many lost lives can live on.

Nick Haney, a newly elected Councilmember of the Surprise City Council, visited Imagine Prep as a guest speaker during our Rally Around the Flag event. He discussed how he felt and his aspect of the event as a second grader that day. Haney also shared his perspective as a firefighter.

“I wasn’t quite sure what was going on when everything was happening,” Haney said. “My teachers were distraught, and I remember seeing them crying before we left school early.”

Haney mentioned that his day was not like any other. His teachers were agitated and concerned about the event.

“Honestly, I think the tragedy and the number of innocent lives that were lost still get me emotional to this day,” Haney said. “Imagine all the parents just going to their 9-5 p.m. job, and all the innocent children just wanting to play with their friends at the daycare.”

(L to R): Nicole Haney, Principal Chris McComb and Rally Around the Flag guest speaker Nick Haney pose for a picture after the event concluded.

Haney explained that Sept. 11, 2001, was the day different people came together. Ordinary people stepped up during those times to help pray for the families in need; everyone came together to help. Although this day brought tragedy and sadness, it also brought unity. 

“The main message I am hoping to get across to the high school and middle school students is that there is always light,” Haney said. “Everyone should try to be the light and learn from people’s actions that day.”

Haney mentioned that it is important to never take things for granted and celebrate your life. It is essential to step up and take on actions that some people can’t do for themselves. Always be the light. 

“Even though I was young, I will always remember the fear and tragedy that 9/11 has brought to the people closest to me,” Haney said.

Imagine Prep held an assembly with a different guest speaker. Joe Lutrario was a police officer in Brooklyn, NY, on 9/11. Lutrario discussed his views and perspective on the day and how it has affected him. 

High school students listening to guest speaker Lutrario during an assembly on 9/11.

“When the plane first hit, we knew it was a terrorist attack. My colleagues and I were just in gym shorts, so we had to change into our uniforms and jump in a truck and go,” Lutrario said. “The six of us were scheduled to show up to the station around 9 (a.m.), but most of us had shown up at 6 a.m. because we had some extra work to get done that day.”

Lutrario stated that they couldn’t get there fast enough. In time, he and his colleagues were speeding down the roads to the trade center. 

Lutrario and his partner arrived to the World Trade Center complex and saw a teacher in need of help evacuating children from a daycare. Lutrario explained they made a “bucket brigade” or assembly line to pass all of the children from the building to safety.

Lutrario then moved on to helping in the South Tower when the building began to shake. He described it as the feeling of an earthquake. Lutrario ran to wedge himself in an industrial door frame for safety when everything went black. He was trapped and buried; unable to move. After an unknown amount of time, Lutrario was pulled out of the wreckage; his arm and shoulder severely injured.

“I remember the tone being fear and anger,” Lutrario said. “We were all upset and confused as to why… Why is this happening? What did we do?”

Lutrario mentioned that survivor’s guilt is a thing, and he only thinks about how many more lives he could have saved and protected.

(L to R): Principal Chris McComb with guest speaker Joe Lutrario and Imagine Schools Regional Director, Darrin Anderson.

“All I think about today is not doing enough,” Lutrario said. “There was so much to do but so little time. Getting to every floor and looking for survivors was very stressful.” 

Lutrario said that during the day, it was such a rush. Chaos is one word to describe it. 

“We lost a lot of things that day,” Lutrario said. “The sense of freedom and security we once had felt like it was taken away from us.”

Lutrario is hoping to send a message to Imagine Prep to stay together. Our country was at its greatest when we united to serve and protect.

9/11 will be a day to never forget; students need to learn about the different perspectives and experiences surrounding what happened that day. This event is an integral part of American history, and the lost lives should always be remembered.