TERRE HAUTE —
Jim Mann believes it’s important to remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and also to let terrorists know “they did not win.”
The Terre Haute South Vigo High School teacher, with assistance from students and staff, has planned a 9/11 “Remembrance Opportunity” at the South Vigo track. The 30-minute observance will take place the morning of Sept. 11, the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.
The gates will open at 8 a.m., and patriotic music begins at 8:30 a.m.
One minute of silence will take place at 8:46 a.m., which is the time of the first plane attack on the World Trade Center. Also at that time, those attending will join hands as they stand around the track. “We’ll go lane by lane on the track … if one fills, we’ll go to a second lane,” Mann said.
Patriotic music concludes at 9 a.m. and the gates close at 9:30 a.m.
There will be no speeches, and nothing will be sold, Mann said, although he will make an introduction just prior to the minute of silence.
“It’s a time to reflect,” he said.
The event grew out of discussions he had with some of his American Spectra students and with other teachers. “Both groups thought something needed to be done and out of those conversations came this remembrance morning,” he said.
He has no idea how many people will attend, but fellow teacher Shawn Nevill and South student Samantha Hayes are working to publicize the event through social networking sites.
Another teacher, Amy Jarvis, is assisting with music arrangements. Mann said his students will serve as ushers at the remembrance ceremony and they also are responsible for a flag presentation.
Mann believes it’s important to have the remembrance event in part because “we want to show the terrorists they did not win … We’ve gone on with our lives and we’re not living in fear.”
People still go to big cities and attend major events, including athletic events, attended by tens of thousands of people. He also pointed to what the all-voluntary military has accomplished in the past decade.
“What the American people have accomplished is pretty impressive,” he said.
Wabash Valley residents were geographically removed from what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, “but we were gripped like everyone else when we watched [the attacks] on TV … It’s part of who we are as Americans.”
Mann encourages the public to attend and remember. “To me, it’s the antithesis of what terrorists thought would happen,” he said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.