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WRHS students dedicate memorial bench to 9/11 victims

Students of the History Club at Winnisquam Regional High School placed red, white and blue roses on a new bench the club dedicated on 9-11. The roses were in honor of the planes, locations, rescuers, and all who lost their lives that day in 2001, as well as others who have suffered loss and fear from terrorism since that time. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
September 19, 2012
TILTON — Classroom activities at Winnisquam Regional High School paused at 8:48 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11 as students, faculty and staff took time out to remember the lives lost as a result of the day that changed life in the United States forever.

Over the loudspeaker, the poem "Distant Witness," written by Kelly A. Malone, was broadcast inside the school, while outside on the front lawn, members of the History Club did the same as they gathered around a new 9-11 Memorial Bench.

"…I didn't arrive with photo in hand, looking for my wife/I didn't tell my only son his dad had lost his life/I didn't send my only child into a burning tower/To try to save whomever he could and die within the hour…In some small way I'd like to say I hold you in my heart/Although this won't amount to much I hope it is a start/There was a part inside of me that died upon that day/I cannot look at life the same or trust in the same way…" the poem reads.

Following the reading was a moment of silence before senior Courtney Larabee then read the meaning of the 12 red, white and blue roses the students placed atop an American flag draped over their new bench.

The four red roses signified the passengers and crew onboard the airplanes, while the four white flowers represented the impact locations in New York City, Shanksville, Penn., and Washington, D.C. Lastly, read Larabee, the blue roses were for the rescue personnel who lost their lives that day, international citizens who were caught up in the tragedies, family and friends of those lost, and for all who have "suffered the effects or live in fear of terror each day."

The new granite bench, which the History Club purchased for the school last year, was installed recently and dedicated on 9-11 with the words "Never Forget" inscribed across the front.

History teacher Denise Lessard organized the memorial, and said, as years pass, it's becoming a challenge for teachers to address the events of that fateful day however, as students entering high school now barely remember the tragedy.

"We wonder now how to move forward in discussions and lessons on 9-11, because it's becoming more and more like Pearl Harbor for younger students who didn't witness what happened that day," said Lessard.

The group gathered on the lawn this year for the bench dedication did still remember, though, and they shared their thoughts and memories.

Junior Nyasja Lewis said she was five-years-old at the time, and remembered watching television with her family, unsure just what was happening but realizing it wasn't good.

Taylor Cullen, a sophomore, said that despite the news, her mother left her at preschool that day, not wanting her to be frightened by the events on every television channel and radio station. Larabee, however, found a different reaction where she lived in Connecticut in 2001.

"They wouldn't let any of us leave early because the school building was the safest place for us at that time," she recalled.

Lewis said 9-11 means a lot to her, and she and her mother watch the many documentaries on television each year as the anniversary of the terrorist attacks draws near.

"Every year, I learn something new about what happened that day," Lewis said.

Garnett Hill
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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