News From Ramaz
In commemoration of 9/11, the Upper School was honored to welcome two special guest speakers who were at the site of the tragedy to share their personal stories. Transmitting this horrific event and its aftermath to a generation that never really knew of the Towers is difficult. But, remember we must, they stressed, and the passion, dedication and welcoming styles of Ms. Michele Davidson and Mr. Dan Noesges made an immeasurable impact on our teenage audience. The program began with a short film that presented a timeline of the events on September 11, 2001. Using animation and real photos, the video enabled the students to grasp the magnitude of the longest and most tragic day in New York's history.
Ms. Davidson lived a few blocks from the World Trade Center. Her husband, chief architect for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, worked in the North Tower. Their adult son also lived nearby in an apartment that faced the World Trade Center.
My son went to his window just as the dust cloud rolled across and he panicked... On the phone, I explained that his father went to work late that morning and was okay...
Ms. Davidson was able to leave the chaos and billowing smoke on one of the many boats that volunteers were using to shuttle people to New Jersey. She stressed her good fortune and asked that our students take on any small deed that can help to make the world a better place. Ms. Davidson gives tours at the 9/11 Tribute Center because she wants to do her small part in making the world a safer place for future generations. She has conducted over 300 walking tours.
Mr. Noesges was a master mechanic with Local 14 on 9/11. He saw the attacks unfold from his work station at JFK. On 9/12, he began his role in the recovery as a crane operator, searching for victims in the debris. Mr. Noesges shared his story as a representative of Local 14, and using seven photos that he took over the span of his two months working on the site, he showed students the magnitude of the excavation project. He believes that it was a miracle and the resolute dedication of his men that it took only eight months for the site to be cleared. Mr. Noesges is a Vietnam veteran who views service to our country as an honor. He is also a docent at the Tribute Center, and a role model extraordinaire.
Mr. Noesges' closing remark was a call for students to remember the victims, the heroes, and the attack on America, and reminded students to "always be vigilant!"
At the conclusion of the assembly, students stood as Rabbi Albo read an original Hebrew prayer written by Dr. Moshe Sokolow who was at the site on 9/11 as a Hatzoloh First Responder. Dr. Sokolow's poetic phrases eloquently lamented the loss of thousands, honored the courageous heroes, and beseeched our merciful God to help us heal and to grant us peace. Students ended the program by singing our National Anthems, led by Mr. Henkin.
Earlier in the week and following Ramaz tradition, students visited with the firemen at the 85th Street Station, Engine 22, Ladder 13. They placed a bouquet of flowers to honor the men who lost their lives at the site, and also thanked the firemen who serve so courageously.