On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked in the worst terrorist attack on American soil ever. 3,000 people lost their lives on that day. Every year for the past 17 years, BL has recognized 9/11, known now as Patriot Day, with some type of assembly. Every year the assembly has had a different theme. The theme for this year’s Patriot Day assembly was service, and it was coordinated by Upper School Librarian Mrs. Ricci.
“When Mr. Mitchell asked me to take on the Patriot Day assembly I was very happy,” said Ricci. “This gives the boys a chance to know, learn, and remember what happened and when you don’t do that you lose the chance to carve out a better future.”
Mrs. Ricci was not the only person who played a part in the Patriot Day assembly. Mrs. Ricci along with Upper School History Teacher and Ninth Grade Dean Mr. Mcdonald hand-picked students who they felt exemplified service in their communities. Senior Xander Mtimit was tasked with presenting a part in the Patriot Day assembly because of his service experience at his local library.
“It proved to be quite humbling,” said Mtimet. “It made me realize how much my service pales in comparison to the service of the first responders who sacrificed their lives on 9/11.”
The assembly helps keep the memory alive for students who don’t remember 9/11, but several faculty members recall the events like it was yesterday.
Upper School History/ Director Boys’ Latin Center for Military History Teacher and Military Museum Curator Mr. Maisel was teaching his European history class to sophomores the morning of 9/11. After the first plane hit the tower, a fellow teacher came into his room and asked if he heard what happened. Mr. Maisel had a TV in his room and turned it on. Thirty seconds after turning on the TV, the second plane hit the north tower.
“The room went silent, and everyone was in shock,” Maisel said. “The thoughts running through my mind were, ‘Do I know someone in the towers? Did one of my former students work in the towers?’
Mr. Maisel is not the only person on Lake Avenue who remembers that day. Upper School Admissions Counselor and Head Lacrosse Coach Mr. Farrell was in the locker room when he heard about a plane flying into the World Trade Center.
“My first thought was that it was an accident,” he said. “I thought a fighter jet had accidentally flown into the building.” He and his classmates filed into former BL teacher and current Loyola Principal Mr. Marinnaci’s room and watched the news. About an hour later all the boy’s parents came and picked them up.
“It was intense. You don’t think about it, but it was real,” said Farrell.
In the years following, BL would continue to observe the events that transpired on 9/11 with a ceremony conducted by Mr. Maisel. The tradition of honoring 9/11 has a deep-seated history within BL and every year a different focus is brought to the remembrance.
“It is ok to call it Patriot Day,” said Maisel, “but we can never forget the real meaning of that day.”