By Nyesha Stone
Remember. That was the word of the day this past Tuesday. 9/11 is a day America remembers those we lost due to four plane crashes. Around 3,000 people were killed on this day seventeen years ago in 2001. Not only is this a day of remembrance, but according to St. Marcus Lutheran School’s Pastor Dan Leyrer, it’s a time of thanks—to give thanks to servicewomen and men who bravely risked their lives to save others during such a tragic time.
Milwaukee’s own local firehouse Engine 21, was there, in New York, helping save lives, and to pay thanks, K3-8th grade students from St. Marcus Lutheran School walked in silence from their school to Engine 21.
According to their press release, 920 students were in attendance on North Palmer St.
Pastor Leyrer welcomed the crowd, led the Pledge of Allegiance and then gave a short speech to the students—who were born after 9/11—on the importance of remembering.
“It was the deadliest day in America for public service,” he said, “so, today we remember.”
The youngest students stood in the front with their firefighter helmets and mini American flags. Each of the students sported their school uniforms as they faced the firehouse to listen to each speaker: Pastor Leyrer, Marcus’ Principal Erin Johnson and Engine 21 Captain Darin Peterburs.
Out of all the stories Pastor Leyrer has heard over the years from servicewomen and men in New York on 9/11, there’s one scene that sticks with him. When everyone was running away from danger, he said—as they should—firefighters and police officers were running towards danger (the burning buildings).
Marcus’s church rang their church bell 30 times, once for every 100 people who died. Everyone sat in silence once again.
Peterburs spoke only for a brief second about his experience in New York during 9/11. He told his story because he said it’s the only way the students would begin to understand why this a day of remembrance.
Johnson then came to the podium to thank the students, their parents, the staff, and the firefighters. Before the students headed back to school, parents and students gave thank you signs to the firefighters.
It was a quick event, but a lot of thought was put into it. To remember is one thing, but to be thankful is something else that needs to be recognized on this day, said Pastor Leyrer.
“We are a people who don’t forget,” he said. “But, we are forever thankful for our blessings.”