Benicia Unified School District

Remembering 9/11

Category(s): Latest News

Posted On: September 11, 2023

On September 11, 2001, I woke up at approximately 6:00 a.m. to start my day. I jumped into my 1965 Forest Green Mustang, put my CD in the deck, and headed to work. As I cruised down 94 East, fellow commuters drove slowly on a traditionally fast freeway. Curious, I looked left, then right, only to find facial expressions of shock and disbelief. Still oblivious, I zigged-zagged my way to open space and sped off.

I arrived at work, turned on my computer, and found chilling images of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center. The immediate numbness I felt later turned into fear and vulnerability. Concerned with the fate of our great nation, I watched the news story developments continuously. I saw the images of heroic firefighters running into burning buildings as they collapsed to rubble. I saw pictures of strangers jeopardizing their safety to save the lives of others, and I heard the story of the passengers on Flight 93 who challenged the hijackers and crashed the plane into open space to prevent further destruction. Even more compelling, the country did not define our heroes by race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. Heroes were ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The countless acts of heroism represent who we are as a society. I am proud to be an American.

9/11 reiterated that the heart of this nation rests in its people. The countless acts of heroism illustrated the patriotic spirit woven into our fabric. I learned that we cannot take our lives or the very civil liberties we cherish for granted, and I realized that terror has no race, color, or religious affiliation; instead, it is a tactic the extreme uses to intimidate others for political gain. On 9/11, our nation did not suffer alone; the world grieved.

9/11 reminds us that freedom is not free. Civil liberties enable us to navigate life with a sense of identity. They allow us to love, establish bonds without limits, and enjoy the cultural nuances of different races, national origins, and spiritual beliefs. Civil liberties enable us to secure a free and appropriate education, voice our opinions, and share our values when philosophical differences and disagreements occur. We can enjoy these liberties because people of service have fought to preserve our right to be a free nation.

Our students were not born yet and thus may not fully understand the magnitude of the 9/11 attacks when they occurred. It is up to the elders to keep our essential historical events alive and ensure we never forget our past. Nor will we ever forget the 3000-plus lives lost. We must honor and appreciate the service men and women fighting for our freedom and remember those who are no longer with us.

I vividly remember the 9/11 attacks and how they impacted my life. Today, we reflect; today, we remember; and today, we honor!


Damon J. Wright, Ed.D.