Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media Two battalions form Friday at the Lorain County JVS as safety forces students gather to observe Patriot Day on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Every head was bowed and every mouth was silent Friday for a full minute as roughly 1,000 Lorain County JVS students reflected on the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
They gathered at 8:46 a.m., the exact time the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center 14 years ago.
Only the sound of crickets could be heard after assistant principal Pat Foreman asked for a moment of silence to reflect on how the coordinated al Qaida strikes changed the American landscape forever.
This is the fourth year the JVS has hosted a Sept. 11 ceremony. What started in 2002 as a moment of silence grew into a formal observance in 2012 when a beam from the WTC was molded into a memorial at the school in Pittsfield Township.
Students Nicole Conrad of Avon High School and Jesse Everson of Elyria High School presented a wreath and placed it at the foot of the memorial.
JVS spokeswoman Tina Salyer said the students and the public had a hand in creating the memorial that proudly sits on the school’s front lawn.
Welding students attached the beam to the platform it rests on, landscaping students laid the mulch and planted the flowers, and masonry students laid the sidewalk surrounding the memorial.
Brianna Krieg, a culinary arts student from Firelands High School, read an essay reflecting on the terrorist attacks. She focused on the importance of working together and how people shouldn’t discriminate against others.
“We Americans must fight to save the lives of our people, we must work together to become a stronger nation, and we must stay strong to save our country,” she said. “People are people no matter their race or their religion.”
Colin Lehman, a Web and graphic design student from Firelands, described the events that took place and how America changed in the 14 years since the planes collided with the twin towers.
He said America is much safer now than it was in 2001, but that doesn’t mean we should forget what happened.
“As the world begins to heal from the tragedy of Sept. 11, we learn that our country must always stand together. The freedom and prosperity that we celebrate every day should not be taken for granted and we should always stand as one and never forget the saying ‘God bless America.’”
Foreman said he was proud of the students who took part in the ceremony as well as the students in attendance.
“Everyone was spot on today,” he said. “I think they appreciated it.”
He said taking time out of the day to remember the fallen is a tradition that will continue at the JVS.
“The sacrifice and heroic deeds done by so many people need to be recognized,” Foreman said.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.