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Bedford Central Students Welcome and Visit Mobile 9/11 Exhibit
“USA! USA!” Mount Kisco Elementary School fourth and fifth graders chanted. The students lined Green Street in Mount Kisco last Thursday, wearing bright red fire hats and waving American flags while they waited for the arrival of the 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit.
“This is a huge honor,” Principal Inas Morsi-Hogans told them. “This is an exhibit in memory of all of those who lost their lives on 9/11.”
While students and staff waited for the huge tractor-trailer filled with artifacts, documentary videos and recordings of first responder transmissions, members of the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) spoke with students and thanked them for coming out.
The exhibit was led in by local first responders while students cheered and waved their flags with enthusiasm.
“My favorite part was when my friend William started chanting ‘USA!’ really loud and waving two flags around,” said fifth-grader Oscar Dieguez. “And then everyone started yelling it.”
In collaboration with the Mount Kisco Fire Department, eighth and eleventh-grade students had the opportunity to visit the exhibit during school as part of their Social Studies curriculum.
“History is important. Do you know why?” an FDNY Chief asked a group of juniors after talking to them about the aftermath of the attacks. “If you know the history, you don’t repeat the mistakes.”
The mobile exhibit is broken into three “rooms” that focus on the World Trade Center, the aftermath of the attacks and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides smart homes to badly injured veterans and first responders.
When students moved into the final room, the tour guide noted: “You just came through one of the worst things that ever happened in the US. This room is some of the good that came from it.”
Here, students learned about firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran three and a half miles through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel with all of his gear on to help. They saw the names of all of the FDNY firefighters who lost their lives that day and who continue to lose their lives to 9/11-related illnesses.
They also saw video of how the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was created in Siller’s memory, takes care of veterans and first responders to this day. The guide noted that each of the houses created for injured veterans and first responders is made specifically for them. One recipient lost both arms and legs and is only able to communicate through blinking. His home has a special app that allows him to do things like control lights by the number of times he blinks.
“I thought it was interesting to hear their experiences,” Fox Lane High School junior Samantha Barrett said. Samantha’s grandfather was a firefighter from Long Island who was called in to help with the aftermath of the attacks. He eventually died from cancer related to exposure. “It was interesting to hear their point of view and how they saw that day.”