20 Years Later

Garfield remembers 9/11 on it’s 20th anniversary.


By Eva Hightower

The events of  9/11, which often pops up in your Social Studies class in September, serves as one of the most important and terrifying events in U.S. history. Today, it can feel like a product of history, something read in a textbook, but two decades later, the impact of the attack stays with thousands of people around the world.

At around 9 A.M. in New York City (6 A.M. in Seattle), on September 11th, 2001, Nineteen members of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, hijacked four planes departing from various locations in the U.S. Two of the airplanes were flown into each of the Twin Towers, a part of The World Trade Center, in New York City. The other two planes crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died due to the attacks, and more than 6,000 people were injured. It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. 

Like the rest of the nation, Seattle residents woke up to a terrifying scene plastered across their T.V. screens. As Garfield teachers and students filtered into the school, many were just learning of the horrors taking place across the country. Mr. Spang, who was just starting his tenth year at Garfield at the time of the attack, recalls the day. “It was not like any other day. Nobody knew what was happening, we just watched the T.V. all day and talked about what we were seeing with the Twin Towers,” Spang said. Mr. Lovre, who had just started working at Garfield six days before the attack, had a similar recollection. “People were scared. I remember when airplanes were flying overhead going to SeaTac, I was thinking that one of the skyscrapers I could see out of my window might be next,” Lovre said. 

Emotions were clearly running high that day, yet an overwhelming sentiment of unity held true for both teachers. “I think it brought the school community closer, and going to school gave the students and teachers a sense of normalcy,” Lovre said. Mr. Spang agrees with this sentiment. “Most people came in as a community and were supportive of Garfield as a whole. It was kind of a bonding moment,” Spang said. This bond continued for weeks after the attack, as Garfield, and the United States, tried to figure out how to recover as a community and as a country. Mr. Lovre thinks that he, as a teacher, could have provided instruction that was more trauma informed, but was impressed by how supportive the students were with each other. “Garfield students exemplified what it means to come together,” Lovre said. 

Terrorisim focused-fear still haunts the U.S., even 20 years later. This fear only exacerbates the strained relationship between the U.S. and Middle East. Even though two decades have passed, Garfield hasn’t forgotten the impacts of 9/11 and the school’s ability to come together in times of uncertainty. And though there may be lingering fear as the anniversary of the historic day passes, remembering the unity and strength shown throughout Garfield, from both faculty and students, should be remembered as well.