It’s been 16 years since that grim day– September 11, 2001. Local high school students in Horseheads gathered at Teal Park to remember those who lost their lives.
But for Bruce May, the executive director of the Town of Horsehead’s Youth Bureau, he certainly remembers what happened when he saw those images on TV.
“I literally thought to myself, ‘thank god I live in the United States and not in a country that goes through that,'” May said. “And that’s when I came to the realization that this was our country, New York City, that was being attacked.”
Every year, he gathers high school students to set up a candlelight vigil and commemorate 9/11.
“I think for many of them it’s a fact of history now,” May said. “If you weren’t born when it happened, it might just be the past or something that happened in history like World War I or World War II would be to some of the older people as we were taught through school.”
For those who were old enough, they might remember some the events of 9/11. But for these kids who were one year old or not even around, it’s a whole different story.
“Even as a small child, hearing stories of it I didn’t realize the extent that it affected us,” Karlie Robinson, a senior-year high school student, said. “And I definitely keep that at heart today.”
Karlie was only 11 months old at the time. But for Salaia Jewers, a freshman-year high school student, she was born two years after. She says her mom was in Manhattan on that day.
“One of the things I do remember was, I believe she walked out of a building and she saw the first plane strike the north building,” Jewers said. “And she had a sense of panic, but at the same time she was calm.”
“For them to come out and experience it and rekindle the memories and the thoughts,” May said, “or just have their own tribute to such a tragedy that our country has been through, it’s heart-warming to me.”
This event kicked off in 2002, a year after 9/11 and has been taking place annually at the park.