Upper School students, faculty and staff gathered in Brauer Auditorium on September 7 for a special assembly to mark the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
History Department Chair Gabe Ashman opened the assembly with a poignant recollection of that terrible day and calls to action for students. He began with a quote from Josef Stalin: “One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic.” Mr. Ashman went on to explain that he chose to quote a brutal dictator because, “I want him to be wrong. I don’t want to lose sight of the profound humanity of the 2,977 men and women whose lives ended so abruptly on that September day.” He concluded his remarks with a charge to students: “Fifteen years hence you will be the emerging leaders of our country and the perpetuation of our freedoms and our democracy will be squarely in your hands. There can be no finer way to honor those whose lives were brutally cut short than by keeping the fires of freedom burning that the terrorists sought to snuff out.”
Mr. Ashman then introduced Casey Wimberly, a firefighter from Kansas City who shared his experiences as an annual participant in the Kansas City Stair Climb. Mr. Wimberly ascends 110 stories in full gear alongside fellow firefighters to pay tribute to those who perished on 9/11. He shared that he climbs each year in memory of Ronnie Henderson, a firefighter from Brooklyn, NY, who lost his life while attempting to rescue people trapped in the first tower. “We are problem solvers,” Mr. Wimberly said. “When people are having their worst day, we must be at our best to help them.”
Following a moment of silence, St. Louis Caledonian Pipe Band members John Haack and Laura Hartung closed the assembly with a performance of “Amazing Grace.”