WELLSBURG - An assembly at Brooke High School Tuesday offered students, staff and visiting officials an opportunity to reflect on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As guest speaker, Bob Fowler, Brooke County ambulance, emergency management and homeland security director, noted the world has changed much since the attacks in which thousands in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard three airliners were killed.
Fowler said the Patriot Act, signed into law following the attacks, has called for more sharing of information related to suspected terrorists among various government agencies.
ASSEMBLY HELD — Bob Fowler, Brooke County ambulance, emergency management and homeland security director, served as guest speaker for an assembly Tuesday at Brooke High School marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. -- Warren Scott
He noted tighter security in the airline industry has ranged from fortified cockpit doors designed to restrict entry by would-be assailants to more thorough inspection of passengers and baggage in terminals.
Fowler said the inspections have resulted in longer lines that can be frustrating "but those measures are for our protection."
He said while the war on terrorism has incurred a financial cost, no one can put a price on the lives of the many who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
Fowler said the vocabulary of average American citizens has expanded to include the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ground zero.
He told the students, "Don't be afraid of terrorism. That's what they (terrorists) want."
But Fowler encouraged them to report promptly to authorities anything they find suspicious or unusual.
Fowler said there are many emergency responders, most of them volunteers, who have devoted themselves to protecting their fellow citizens.
As mistress of ceremonies, Principal Toni Shute recognized law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel and volunteer firefighters attending as special guests.
Shute said anyone who is old enough to remember the attacks will recall the beautiful blue sky that morning and the shock at seeing news reports of airliners crashing into first, the World Trade Center towers and later, the Pentagon.
She noted many learned later of Flight 93 and the brave passengers who caused the plane to crash near Shanksville, Pa. instead of its hijackers' intended destination.
"These were people like you who woke up like any other day and went to work, but they never got to see their spouses, children, parents or pets again," Shute said.
She said one lesson that may be taken from that is not to take one's relationships for granted.
"We must make certain the people we love the most know it," Shute said, adding, "We never know what our day will bring or how many days of our lives we have remaining."
A video montage, set to Fuel's "Leave the Memories Alone," was shown by John Zumpetta with help from students in his video production class.
Many students participated in the assembly.
Adrianna Stevens and Michelle Woodstuff each read poems they had written about the physical and emotional impact of that day.
Brent Kimball, a senior choir member; and Jared Harlan, a Brooke High School alumnus; performed songs of patriotism or inspired by the date.
John Eicher, Jacob Hrushak, Frankie Eggert, Kassidi Reitter and Megan O'Donnell read comments on the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 from individuals ranging from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Sandy Dahl, the widow of Flight 93 Pilot Jason Dahl.
Dahl said, "If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn life is short and there is no time for hate."
The Brooke High School Band opened the event with the national anthem and trumpeters Justin Hoff and Zach Johnson closed it with taps.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com)