9-11 Reflections from Superintendent Bennardo

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It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since the 9-11 attacks rocked our nation to its core.  Most of us can still remember where we were when the misguided power of hatred shattered the serenity of a beautiful September day.  There is simply no denying that the memory of September 11, 2001, remains forever imprinted upon the fabric of our generation’s soul.  We are the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and brothers and sisters of a post 9-11 existence, characterized by considerably less innocence than the world we knew before.  While we never expected the challenges placed before us at the start of this new century, the people of our nation have endured with remarkable strength, compassion, and dignity.  

The simple truth is that nothing can ever erase the immeasurable pain associated with September 11, 2001.  There will forever be empty chairs at far too many dinner tables and uncelebrated birthdays at too many homes to count.  To those families who paid that ultimate price, we can offer only our heartfelt thoughts and solemn prayers.  We can promise to honor the memory of their fallen relatives by loving our families, taking care of our communities, and cherishing our country. 

You see, those that hoped to break the American spirit on 9-11 soon realized that while bricks and mortar make our skyscrapers, character and sacrifice comprise our nation.  The unforgettable images of brave men and women ignoring the instinct for self-preservation and rushing to save others are the real picture of America.  The heartwarming sight of volunteers lining hundreds deep to give blood as people from every race, religion, color, and political party join to sing God Bless America is the true essence of the country we love. 

I can understand how it is possible for outsiders to mistake our nation’s vigorous political debate and passionate social discourse for irreconcilable division.  The truth is, however, that this freedom to express differences is, in fact, the very essence of our brilliant democratic experiment.  This nation is unique because our system allows, and even encourages, us to disagree at fever pitch while retaining the ability to unite when the chips are really down.  The irony is that the very things that tyrants and dictators from around the world see as our weaknesses are, in fact, the characteristics that make America the last great hope on earth.

So as we move forward on this 9-11 anniversary, let’s take a moment to honor the people whose lives were forever changed on that unforgettable day. Let’s hug our own families just a little bit longer, tell our friends we appreciate them just a little more often, and throw every ounce of our energy into living a quality life.  Let us be proud that we wake up each morning in this wonderful community and continue to live in the greatest nation in the world. 

I wish your family God’s blessings as you remember 9-11 in your own special way.

Be well,

Dave Bennardo
Superintendent of Schools