The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

9/11- Bringing Stories to Light

courtesy of Lighthouse Charter School Facebook

A day that permanently altered the way America functioned, September 11th, 2001 is a day that created a newfound sense of patriotism and national unity in the face of darkness. However, as the years have come and gone, the memory of the tragedy has slowly faded. In an effort to educate and inform others of the events of that day, the Heritage Paw Print staff has interviewed numerous individuals in order to bring their stories to light.


When the 9/11 tragedy took place, Psychology teacher Cathy Lee was only 26 and it was her first ever year teaching in Loudoun county. Teaching at Loudoun Valley that day, she mentioned the shock and confusion  felt. ¨It was weird because we weren’t allowed to have news access…so I really didn’t know a whole lot of what was happening,¨ she said. Later she felt an overwhelming amount of sadness since ¨we had never experienced any type of traumatic event of that [amount] before,¨ Lee explained. When it came to the personal effect of 9/11 Lee revealed that she had students at the time whose parents worked in the Pentagon, and as a result one student’s dad unfortunately lost his life in the event. When asked how 9/11 changed her life, Lee went on to talk about how it has still changed not only how the world thinks but how she thinks. ¨[911] was the first [attack] of that level, but now unfortunately we’ve had numerous examples so it definitely has altered my thought process,¨ Lee said. Especially when she is in a large crowd or out with her son, she has a different mind set than she did before 9/11 took place. 

Kayla Douglas, Staff Writer


On the morning of September 11th 2001, four flights had been hijacked on the East Coast. Ken Stoltz, a database developer on the West Coast, had been peacefully getting ready for work in his San Pablo apartment. “I was just getting ready for work when I flipped on the TV, and saw the first tower burning.” It never occurred to Stoltz that the disaster had been anything but an accident. “By that time we knew it [the plane] had been larger; I was rather late to the scene, but still, I assumed it had been an accident. Nobody wants to assume these things [9/11] could be purposeful.” The incident struck all of America, as the days went on and they found more lost souls in the wreckage, and more came out about the details of the incident, “We just sat there paralyzed to the screen for weeks.” said Stoltz. While 9/11 happened years ago, there are still repercussions that all of America deals with. “The strangest thing was, in a time of crisis we were both so united as a community, but also the increase in racism towards American Muslim’s was very prominent,” Muslims around the globe dealt with government drawbacks and hate from their fellow Americans. “I mean, Mosques were being burnt down, even non-Muslim brown people were being profiled. It was horrific.” The term “never forget” had been coined to commemorate this tragic event each year. Stoltz closes by saying “I think remembering the heroes of that day, like the firefighters, cops, civilians, and members of flight 93, will be ingrained in our hearts forever.”

Oliver Stoltz, Staff Writer


It was on September 11, 2001, when two planes crashed into the twin towers of New York City and wreaked havoc over American soil. Lauren DiSalvo was 20 years old and a junior at Virginia Tech. While driving to class that day, she was exposed to the news that the planes had officially crashed into the twin towers. “My initial thought was, like, picturing just a little plane, a horrible accident, something gone wrong, and then went to class. As I was coming back from class, I learned on the news that a second plane had hit a tower, and that’s when I knew this was more than just a small accident, this was something larger,” she said. However, after acknowledging the truth, she was glued to the news, but also very disorientated from the event that took place as everyone was. “In between classes, my roommate and I were watching the news, just trying to figure out what was happening throughout the whole day, and I was very much in a state of shock,” DiSalvo described. Ever since that day has passed, she explained that 9/11 was a defining moment for everyone who lived through it. “Anybody you ask, I think, can tell you exactly where they were, what they were doing, when they learned [about the crash], what was happening,” she answered. In the end, to this day we still remember this tragedy through the phrase, “Never Forget.” While everyone has their own opinion on what that phrase really defines in their heart, DiSalvo had her own definition to share. “The people who died, the people who made sacrifices trying to save [people], running straight towards the wreckage,”Disalvo describes.As the cataclysm’s 22nd anniversary comes to a close, so does DiSalvo’s thoughts to the public come to a satisfying conclusion by “Never Forgetting.”

Andy Cao, Staff Writer


This September 11th marked the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. Although today’s younger generations were not around to experience it, many adults can still recall exactly where they were that day. Holly Horton, a social studies teacher here at Heritage, was a senior in highschool during the attacks. ¨I was living in Snowville, Georgia.  I was in my first block class, I think they call it FACS now, and our teacher was teaching us about microwaves,¨ Horton states.  ¨Our principal came on the announcements and said that a plane had run into one of the twin towers.¨ Horton describes how that day changed the way Americans thought about what they once thought was completely safe. ¨I think it really illustrated that where we live can still be vulnerable. It could happen again.¨ Chris Pasternak, a history teacher at Heritage, was within about 1.5 hours of where flight 93 went down that day. ¨I was 27 when it happened, and I was teaching at a middle school in Easton Pennsylvania. We had students leaving all over the place.¨ Pasternak explains how the tragedy is something that nobody could have predicted. ¨ When I saw it was a commercial jet, I was wondering how it could happen. At no point did I think it could be any type of terrorist activity, just a tragic accident.  Like everybody else, we saw the second plane hit the south tower, and that’s when we realized this was a target attack. That changed everything.¨ Although it is one of the most memorable tragedies in American history, Pasternak, along with numerous others, argue that as time goes on, its significance declines.  ¨There was a lot of patriotism, a lot of recognition of the tragedy and heroism that day. It felt like we became closer as a nation for a while, but that’s not the case today,¨, Pasternak states. ¨We´re scared to talk about it because we’re scared of upsetting individuals, and that I get, but I think its an important part of history that needs to be discussed and we need to educate it.¨

Ellison Downey, Staff Writer


When the attacks of 9/11 were taking place, English Teacher Nicole Korsen was currently working at a government contracting firm. She reveals the shock and stress she felt living in the area she did. “I was at work, and I worked for a government contractor on the Dulles toll road. We actually thought that we might be one of the targets because we had people in our company that worked overseas at the time, and there had been some issues.” Korsen was only 36 at the time, and a new mom. Away from her child and husband, she only knew the attacks were real when she saw a plane hit the second tower on the news. ¨I remember my husband at the time worked downtown, and he couldn’t get through to me. So his father called me and said, “take matthew”, that was my two year old, “and get in the car and drive west” and that was really scary beccause we didn’t know,” she explained. After 9/11, Korsen spoke about how the attacks affected her views on the world, and how they divided people. “For me I would say-I began becoming really concerned with acceptance and equity.t really bothered me after 9/11it became kinda a racial thing, and people would blame those  of middle eastern descent, and I still see that today.” she shared. The phrase “Never Forget” has become a saying we associate with the attacks, but for Korsen it means much more.“I’ve heard that in history they want to take it out of being a current event, and regard it as a historical event, and I believe that we need to keep it current because even though it’s been over 20 years I think it was so impactful to our country as a whole.” she stated. 


Teaghan Morrison, Staff Writer


On the morning of September 11, 2001, Lindsay Combs was sitting in her physics class as a junior in high school when she first learned about the attack, “This kid comes in, who was usually a troublemaker, but he looked so distraught that I was scared. He came in late yelling about the twin towers,” said Combs. Combs remembers feeling “stuck” as the second tower was struck. Just as “stuck” as everyone felt, Combs also remembers how chaotic the school building was as people began to get dismissed, “It was the most unorderly the building had ever been. Half of our class was gone, maybe another 30 minutes later, we had like 7 people left in our classroom,” said Combs. Combs recalls feeling increasingly stressed throughout the day after seeing so many usually confident people look so distressed. Combs remembers how the anxietyshe was feeling was different to what she was used to, because she was so young, “It was just weird to be stressed about something unrelated to subjects like math and science,” stated Combs. One thing that will always stick with Combs is the surreal feeling she had when having to watch people make decisions between life and death on live tv, “They didn’t mute anything, they didn’t get out of it, they didn’t turn it off, they just let stuff roll. To understand the desperation was something I couldn’t process at the time,” said Combs.

Gillian Amrein, Staff Writer


September 11th, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy for the rest of our lives. 8:46am was the timestamp of the first strike. Civilians believed it was just a horrific accident. Airlines Flight 11 had flown into the North tower. People were just living everyday life. No one expected what happened next. At 9:03am a second plane, Flight 175, crashed into the South Tower. America immediately realized it was under attack. Time seemed to stop, and chaos ensued. 

Heritage front office Bookkeeper, Angie Anderson, was sitting on her front porch enjoying her regular catch up call with her friend, when she was told to go into the house, and turn the tv on. Anderson saw the devastating news of the planes hitting the towers. “It didn’t even seem real. It seemed like a movie, literally like something you’d see on movie. It was very scary. You didn’t know what was going to happen next,” Anderson said. Her husband was in Washington D.C. at the time and her kids were in public school. Immediately every parent was wondering and hoping that their families were ok. “We kept seeing messages like “Can we go get our kids from the school?” The school said they were in a lockdown situation and asked parents not to come get their kids, but all the neighbors were going to get their kids. My daughter was in fifth grade and my son was in second grade. The teachers didn’t go into detail with the students of what was going on” Anderson said. The days to follow this tragedy were unlike days anyone had ever lived before. America was dealing with a massive amount of unknown, families were dealing with grief, and everyone was afraid. America had one choice and that was to come together. “The days following were the sense of pride in America. The kindness that people showed each other was so noticeable. We all kind of realized how lucky we are to be Americans,” Anderson said. 

As years pass, September 11th is never forgotten. Rising generations must continue to educate and remind their peers, children, friends and family of the heroes and innocent people that lived and died on that day. 

¨The amount of sacrifice and bravery, that Americans are willing to put their lives on the line for their fellow men The police officers, the fire department; there are heroes among us every day that we take for granted. I wish we acknowledged them more and took care of them better” Anderson said.

Kylie Seaman, Staff writer

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