Students remember lives lost in 9/11 attack

The Magnet Tribune: Miguel Zamarripa
VMT choir, at right behind wall, sings at the 9/11 ceremony, on Sept. 11.

Edward Barrera, Staff Writer

Students, staff, police, and veterans at the 9/11 ceremony in the Vidal M Treviño auditorium remembered the 2,977 who died in the terrorist attack, including the 411 who died rescuing people on that day.

To start the ceremony, Dr. Martha Villarreal, director of the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts, addressed the importance of remembering 9/11 and briefly going over the sacrifices made that day.

Guest speaker was Chief of Police for the Laredo Police Department Raymond E. Garner.

“We don’t need another 9/11; we’re a strong nation. Maybe we did something wrong, maybe we didn’t read the right signals that were being brought out by the FBI and some other organizations. But we’ve changed. We’ve changed a lot, and how we look at the history of what has happened, a lot of good people died,” Garner said.

“Not only Americans, but there was a lot of foreigners who died at the twin towers. We in law enforcement, we as police officers and firefighters, the veterans, they appreciate your generation because you remember us,” Garner said.

“You know what we do. Yes, in law enforcement, we’ve gone through some bad times here of late, but we will overcome that. I do want to take my hat off to your generation. Seems like you all are going to be leading this generation in the right direction. And I applaud you, and at the same time, I say thank you for honoring us,” Garner added.

Junior Kevin Gonzalez read the September 11 address originally written by 43rd President George W. Bush.

“Those whom we lost last September 11 will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in the history of our Nation,” read Gonzalez. “As we mark the first anniversary of that tragic day, we remember their sacrifice; and we commit ourselves to honoring their memory by pursuing peace and justice in the world and security at home.”

Students Laura Coleman and Adele Alaniz went up on stage to recall the events of 9/11.

“The buildings burst into flames and then collapsed, killing thousands,” Coleman read.

It means a lot. 9/11 is one of the reasons why I am part of the U.S. army, so I got the opportunity to go serve in Afghanistan for the reasons behind 9/11. It meant a lot to me… It’s hard to describe since I’m very sentimental, seeing as I had friends and co-workers that lost their lives in the war. It was a pretty good ceremony.”

— Cesario Santiago

“The attacks in New York and Washington constituted the first major foreign assault on the continental United States since 1814,” Alaniz read. “More people were killed on U.S. soil on September 11 than on any day since the American Civil War.”

Student Javier Chavarria rung chimes on stage 10 times — each ring of the chimes represented 300 who perished in the September 11, 2001, attack.

At the finish of the chimes’ ringing, Mario Valle and Anthony Hernandez played Taps. The Ovation Brass Quintet played Amazing Grace afterwards.

As the final performance of the ceremony, the VMT Concert Choir sung Dona Nobis Pacem.

Several people shared their opinions.

“The ceremony was awesome. I was in New York when 9/11 happened. This was very touching and it was awesome. I enjoyed it a lot,” Cesar Martinez, who is in law enforcement and was a guest at the ceremony, said.

Another guest said 9/11 was the reason why he joined the army.

“It means a lot. 9/11 is one of the reasons why I am part of the U.S. Army, so I got the opportunity to go serve in Afghanistan for the reasons behind 9/11. It meant a lot to me… It’s hard to describe since I’m very sentimental, seeing as I had friends and co-workers that lost their lives in the war. It was a pretty good ceremony,” Cesario Santiago, a soldier, said.

A school official explained the reason behind holding 9/11 ceremonies.

“The first responders did a great job when the terrorist attack happened. After having visited New York, it’s like a personal meaning to me after seeing a fire station that had the garage door down in New York. It had the names of the men and women who didn’t come back painted on it. It’s really sad,” school Counselor Ana Laura Salinas said.