In the week leading up to the 20th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, the St. Christopher’s community came together to learn, remember the fallen and discuss the events and their aftermath.
On Friday, the Upper School gathered in Ryan Recital Hall for a chapel service, where Upper School Student Council President Nikkos Kovanes ’22 raised the Freedom Flag, a symbol of remembrance for the attacks. Upper School History Teacher Joshua Thomas then led a talk and encouraged the community to think about the people who gave their lives in the service of others that day. Thomas highlighted the remarkable Manhattan boat rescues, which saved 500,000 people, the largest maritime evacuation in history. “In the face of fear, anger and hatred, ordinary people across our country did the extraordinary,” said Thomas. “They were guided by love and a commitment to their neighbors and fellow Americans.”
Following the attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban government and defeat the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. To learn more about the ensuing 20-year U.S.military involvement, Middle School students in Jon Piper and Derek Porter’s Global Thinking course finished a section on Afghan culture. Students sampled food from Mantu, a Carytown Afghan restaurant featuring the cooking of Chef Hamidullah Noori
. “We don’t want to just focus on the conflict in Afghanistan, we want to focus on the culture,” said Piper. “We’re also talking about the refugees from Afghanistan moving into Richmond and the benefits of other cultures joining us, including the food.”
We invite you to read “Over” by Upper School English Teacher and StC Writer-in-Residence Ron Smith:
All these years now, and it’s over, isn’t it,
the hardly sleeping, the dreams
that aren’t dreams, and the waking
weight of it? Yes, it’s over, long over.
Aren’t you glad you didn’t see them
in the flesh, the jumpers? Aren’t you glad
you didn’t take those calls, the we’re
dying up here calls? The I just have
time to say I love you calls? When
you saw on your TV the first tower fall,
you said, Of course: How could I not
see that it would fall? But you couldn’t,
could you, see that it would fall?
And then you knew the other.
How many months was it that you fell
a thousand feet deafened by the sunlight
on the rooftops, on the river, by the
free howl of flying, or breathless in the
glittering, powdering tons of steel and glass,
of struts and desks and door frames,
dry wall, printers, fax machines, laptops,
coffee cups, fell in a gray storm of shredding,
shredding as you fell, separating, a cloud roar
of black fire and a swarm of edges. Why
didn’t you take your daughter to school or
have another bagel somewhere along the way,
show up an hour late like the lucky ones?
Such a beautiful day. Clear enough
all down the East Coast for even
a poor pilot, orienting by the Pentagon’s
black plume, to come in low over
the Lincoln Memorial, just miss
the Washington Monument and vaporize
the Capitol dome. You whispered, It can’t
get worse than this. You knew, you know
it can always get worse than this.