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By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Palm Ave. recalls a day of terror

 

September 19, 2019 | View PDF

Toni DeRosa | Wasco Tribune

Students holding balloons let them go when instructed.

The events of 9/11 are forever etched into the minds of those old enough to remember.

It's a day etched in the memory the way President John F. Kennedy's assignation is remembered: It happened in an instant but will continue to be relived many times over and never forgotten.

On 9/11, three planes were hijacked. One hit the north tower of the World Trade Center and people were horrified as they watched it burn and then crumple to the ground. When the second plane hit the south tower, it became clear it wasn't an accident, but a terrorist attack on our soil.

Three thousand people died that day, and many first responders are currently living with the physical and psychological pain of that act of terrorism.

It's been 18 years since that day, and many schools and businesses across the nation took time out to remember the lives that were sacrificed. Palm Avenue Middle School is just one of the many schools that spent some time honoring the event's significance.

Palm Avenue Principal Oscar Luna gathered his 11 a.m. lunch students and held a small balloon ceremony accompanied by words from the candidates for school president, Devanie Gaban and Diego Gomez.

While eating lunch, four students seated at a table shared their thoughts and feelings on the events of that day in 2001.

Seventh-grader Jules Wimberly was born in 2006 and learned about 9/11 from his teachers. "I was in third grade with Mrs. Ramirez at Prueitt when we first talked about 9/11," Jules said. "My parents don't talk about it."

Another seventh-grader, Giselle Acevedo, was also born in 2006, long after the attack. "I found out about 9/11 in either third or fourth grade," she said. "We have to honor those who died."

Johnathan Castillo, who was born in 2008, stated that one of his teachers made the class watch the video. "Back then, I was emotional," he said. "I was in first grade, and I cried."

Toni DeRosa | Wasco Tribune

From left, Palm Avenue Principal Oscar Luna, Josh Bocker, Melinda Churchwell, Elena Contreras and Sandra Bailey.

The fourth member of their lunch group, seventh-grader Jose Rodriguez, was born in 2007. "I also cried when I saw the video," he said. "Especially when I saw a plane hit the first building."

Counselor Elena Contreras was at home getting ready for work. "I was saddened," she said. "Everybody was in school unable to work. So many people were crying."

Principal Luna was a senior in high school on 9/11 and watched it on TV. "It was such a big deal," Luna said. "All we could think about was family. We had to be patriots." Luna added that, as each day passed, it got worse and worse as more information was given out.

The young students all knew that 19 people hijacked three planes and that 3,000 people died, plus the deaths of first responders and many who were involved in the clean-up effort.

A sign on the wall at Palm Avenue reads, "Never let us forget."

 

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