On Friday, September 10, the Yeshiva of Central Queens (YCQ) held a 9/11 memorial assembly for the Junior High School students. The assembly began with a short video showing a timeline of the day and clips of the attacks. Next, firsthand stories were told about experiences and memories by a few YCQ staff members: Mr. Miles Ehrenkrantz, Ms. Elisheva Simanowitz, Ms. Odelia Schlisser, and Ms. Darlene Picciano (JHS science teacher), who told her story of her family members who were in Manhattan on 9/11.

Mr. Ehrenkrantz, JHS social studies teacher, shared his story about working in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. “Having worked in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on 9/11, I had a very different experience from those in New York. America’s newest heroes were, of course, all of the men and women who worked tirelessly to save as many people as possible at The World Trade Center in New York, and The Pentagon in Virginia. While they are my heroes, too, I have a very special and personal connection to 40 unsung heroes that saved my life, and those of my colleagues on Capitol Hill that day: the 40 passengers aboard United Flight 93 who thwarted the terrorists’ goal of crashing their jet-fuel-filled plane into the Capitol Building, killing hundreds of senators and representatives, along with their staffers, like me. Every year for 20 years, I have written to their families to express my profound sadness for their loss. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of them. Their sacrifice fuels me to be a better person each day.”

Ms. Simanowitz, JHS administrative assistant and organizer of the program, spoke about her father, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, who was a first responder in the attacks. He later passed away from cancer in 2017. He was a great friend to YCQ and the entire Kew Gardens Hills community. She said, “Even though the events of 9/11 happened 20 years ago, the country and the world are still feeling the effects of it today. So many lives were lost that day, and we continue to lose more to 9/11-related illnesses each day. It’s so important to remember the innocent people who were lost and the heroes who sacrificed so much more than we could have ever imagined just to try to help.”

This year is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many people today are still affected by the events of that day, including the first responders who are still sick from the debris that they inhaled. These assemblies are important to educate people and increase awareness of these attacks. This generation was not alive during the attacks, so it’s important for them to understand how September 11, 2001, changed the world and continues to impact the way we do things.