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9/11: A Call To Action, at NCHS

A 9/11 Symposium at New Canaan High Achool

Thanks to Madeleine Diamond, Annie Fox, and Jessica Karl who made major contributions to this article and which there are excerpts from their presentation this summer at the New Canaan Library.On Friday, September 14th for the second year in a row the New Canaan High School History Department hosted a 9/11 symposium. Last year’s presentation was 9/11, Ten Years After, a general symposium featuring noted speakers providing a retrospective of that terrible day. This year NCHS hosted 9/11, A Call to Action, a program building upon the first and with the focus of asking students to move forward and get involved in community and national efforts to help those in need.The program opened with a Voices of September 11 Always Remember Tribute film which played in the background as students and teacher and community member filed in to the NCHS auditorium. The Star Spangled Banner was sung by senior Christy Coco, a cappella (you can see one of her versions at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrDy5rboFCs). A powerful 9/11 NCHS student film by Kyle Conner was presented. When the Moment of Silence for the survivors and victims’ of 9/11 immediately followed the film, some audience members shed tears in response. Then the featured speakers of the symposium shared their perspectives of how students could productively move forward in helping those in need as a result of 9/11.Mary Fetchet LCSW, Founding Director, Voices of September 11th, Mary Fetchet is the Founding Director and driving force behind VOICES of September 11th. A professional social worker and former educator, Ms. Fetchet co-founded the 9/11 advocacy organization following the death of her 24-year-old son, Brad, NCHS graduate, in the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Ms. Fetchet's mission is to create an organization that addresses the ongoing needs of families of the nearly 3,000 victims, rescue workers and survivors while promoting awareness for prevention, preparedness and response related to terrorism.Bonnie McEneaney had a long, successful career as a senior executive in the financial services industry and, more recently, changed her focus to writing. After losing her husband, Eamon, on 9/11, she published A Bend in the Road (Cornell Library, 2004), which is a compilation of her husband's poetry.The Rev. Nicholas T. Porter B.A. Yale and has a Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo; a Master’s degree in War Studies from King’s College at the University of London and his Master of Divinity is from Berkeley/Yale Divinity; Curate at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and as Sub-Dean and Canon Pastor at the American Cathedral in Paris.NCHS Voices summer interns Madeleine Diamond, Annie Fox, and Jessica Karl closed the symposium with a  presentation: 9/11, A Call to Action, in which these interns explored and documented the ways that members of the Fairfield County community responded to the events of September 11th.  The research from the interviews will be included in the VOICES living memorial project, an online digital archive.Their interviewees included Cantor Shirah Sklar, of Temple Shalom, student in NYC during attacks Cantor Shirah Sklar was only 23 years old and in her second year of cantorial school in New York City when the World Trade Center was attacked. Having just returned from a year in Israel, where attacks were a daily fear, it shocked her to see terrorism spread to her homeland. Father Robert Post of Saint Thomas More, Chaplain of Stamford Fire Department: Father Post was asked to bless the different fire departments going to Ground Zero, and he unfortunately lost many close friends.John Lydon Metro North Having worked trains around Connecticut and New York, Mr. Lydon became familiar with many Manhattan commuters, some of whom were victims of the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Additional interviewees were Monsignor Frank McGrath Of Saint John’s, Chaplain of Noroton& Westport Fire Department, Paul Aaronson EMS Commissioner, NCVAC; Dan Warzoha Emergency Response Consultant, Former Fire Chief of Greenwich; Bob Arnold  President of Family Centers, located in Greenwich ; Margaret Sirot Volunteer facilitator at The Den for Grieving Kids; Mike O’Leary 9/11 Survivor and Johanna Martinez  Lower Manhattan Resident.Any New Canaan High School students are strongly encouraged to participate and only need visit the NCHS History Department Offices to get more information. 

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