September 11, 2001 is a day that America will never forget.
It’s a day that I still remember like yesterday. It’s hard to believe that it’s now been 18 years. A lot has happened in that time since then. With the exception of 10, none of our Georgia Military College Prep School students were alive for 9/11, yet they write names of lives lost on the bricks every year, and write an essay about the significance of that day. Each year, I’m blown away to read what they wrote.
So this year, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, I want to share this year’s winning essays with you, so that we must always remember the importance of keeping the memory alive of those that gave their all on September 11th and in the Global War on Terror.
Why we put chalk to brick: An act of remembrance – by Danica Resha
Billy Ray Cyrus said it best in his song “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”. He reminds us that some Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. As Georgia Military College Prep School puts the chalk to brick on 9/11 every year, one cannot help but reflect on all the ultimate sacrifices made on September 11, 2001, and in the Global War on Terror.
When I was first given my list of names last year, it was just a list of names to me. In that moment, I did not realize how “real” these names would become to me over the next few moments. As I made my way down to the bricks, I saw the massive number of names already written representing each person that perished on 09/11 and in the Global War on Terror.
I remember thinking “Wow, I never realized so many Americans had lost their lives in such a short time span”. I stood there for what seemed like forever just looking at all the names and thinking about how in one single moment, everything can change. After sometime, I sat down on the bricks and began to write from my own list. As I wrote each name, I found myself visualizing each person and wondering about many things. Were any of them married? Where were they from? Did any of them have a daughter, like me at home, missing her daddy? How old were they? Were they in military?
By the time I finished writing all my names, I found my heart filled with sadness and tears flowing. As I stood up, I looked around at the continuously growing number of names, and I remember thinking about all the families and friends that would never be able to hold or talk to their loved one(s) again. I thought about the little girl that would never be able to hug her daddy again or hear his voice telling her how proud he is of her. I closed my eyes, lowered my head, and had a moment of silence for each lost life. In this moment, the realization of why we write each name, every September 11, hit me. I realized how important it is to make sure I celebrate and never forget those who have sacrificed everything for my freedom and safety.
So, as we put chalk to brick again this year, I know there will be new names to add to the already too long list of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in our fight on terrorism.
I will look at these names and again wonder about each person’s life and what could have been for them. Over time, the names we write in chalk will fade, but the memories and sacrifices of all those that perished during the September 11 attacks and in the Global War on Terror should never fade from our hearts or minds.
Why we put chalk to brick: An act of remembrance – by Logan Mitchem
Name, after name, after name. Names of family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Names of the thousands of lives that were lost, but never forgotten. 9/11 left an imprint on America, and forever will the people of our nation come together to remember the names of the unfortunate souls who took their last breath on this tragic day. Although in our small town of Milledgeville Georgia we may not recognize these names, they still hold a special place in our hearts. Each year, to honor these victims, GMC cadets put chalk to brick and write out each of the names, one by one. It gives students the ability to personally connect with the victims, and is a truly eye-opening and humbling experience.
Flags line the sidewalk and white chalk dusts the bricks. Students sit crouched, diligently working to write down as many names as possible. Parents and teachers converse as they watch and even participate. As the crowds thin and the people finish their work, it is a chilling scene.
Walking down the bricks, one can’t help but stare in awe. No words could truly describe the feeling that swallows your heart and mind. This is the image of remembrance. This is the image of love. This is the image of a community coming together to contribute to something much larger than themselves.
It is a feeling like no other to see hundreds of students come together on the bricks of Georgia Military College, chalk in hand. No complaints about the hot weather, sweating in the uniform, or the time it takes to copy the list of victims given to them onto the bricks. Each name is read, written, and remembered. It puts a heavy weight on one’s heart realizing the sheer number of people who were killed on this day, but this realization is good for us. It helps those who were not alive at the time, to truly understand the impact the attack had, and still has, on our nation. It helps us understand why we stand at attention, salutes high, during the annual GMC 9/11 ceremony. It helps us understand why each year our nation comes together, unified, standing together to provide strength for those lost it on this day in history.
Sometimes as citizens, especially the younger generations, 9/11 can lose its meaning. We can forget the suffering thousands endured, and the effect it had on our country. This happens simply because no personal connections can be made, especially for those who were not alive during this time. However, putting chalk to brick puts a name to the tragedy. It becomes more real. These are real people, with real families, and real stories. They deserve to be remembered, and each year they are. This is why we put chalk to brick, it’s an act of remembrance, and an act of love. Never will they be forgotten.