On Monday, September 12, the entire school had the privilege of hearing from Deputy Chief James McNally, who served with the FDNY during 9/11. Mrs. Amy Katz opened the program with a moving slideshow about the quickly unfolding events of the morning of 9/11, when the world changed in the span of only 149 minutes.

Chief McNally was then introduced, and he described his traumatic experiences from the day, sharing details about his role as a fireman and how he lost many close friends during the attack. He showed the students a metal bolt that someone had kept from one of the towers. Additionally, he described the significance of 9/11 to the FDNY community. Instead of running away from the tragedy, they were running into it, rescuing as many people as possible. Firemen spent many days following the tragedy sifting through the rubble, trying to find human remains, which was a long, hard, and tiring process. The officers worked 24-hour shifts, on and off, for days. Many workers unfortunately developed sicknesses from the toxic air.

After sharing his story, Deputy Chief McNally opened the floor to all questions, allowing the students and faculty the opportunity to learn more about that day. Meira Schuck, a junior, remarked, “Hearing from Mr. McNally was eye-opening. I had never heard a first-hand account from someone who had been through what happened on 9/11. It was amazing to hear how all these incredible people were so brave and did everything that they could to help save others.” Mr. Louis Garza, a retired NYPD detective, and Central’s very own security guard reflected, “Even in the darkest of times, you should look for the helpers, because there’s always someone who is willing to help.” Thanks to Mrs. April McNally for helping to facilitate the program!