Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Manchester middle schooler reflects on 9-11

The following speech was given by eighth grader Taylor Frenette at McLaughlin Middle School's 9-11 remembrance ceremony. Her thoughtful words are a great reminder of what makes America strong.

Thank you, Mr. Krantz.  Governor, Mayor, distinguished guests, staff, and fellow students… Good Morning.  I was only 10 months old on September 11, 2001.  I was too young to realize how much life in America had changed in a matter of minutes. But, I have come to understand the true meaning of service, and the value of sacrifice.
                                              Taylor, with Manchester Fire Chief Burkush and
                                             Manchester police officers, including Chief Mara,
                                                                after the 9-11 remembrance ceremony

Years ago, my mom taught us to shake the hands of and to thank any soldier in uniform that we saw.  A first, it was a routine, something that I was supposed to do.  But, as I’ve gotten older, and have learned more about what happened on this day 13 years ago, and the events that followed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I now realize the importance of thanking the men and women in uniform for what they do for us on a daily basis. They live by the motto:  service over self.

Our military, and our first responders, train for years and are willing to give their lives for you, for me, and for our country.  Whether it’s a police officer helping us after a crime, a fire fighter saving one of us from a burning home, or a member of our military working everyday to make sure we have the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… they are all heroes.

On September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people were killed, including ten NH residents.  Did I know any of them?  NO.  In fact, most of us in this room did not know any of the people killed in the terrorist attacks.

But many of us know someone who serves today, whether it’s a member of the armed forces serving overseas, or a local police officer, fire fighter, or EMT.  They are a part of our daily lives, and for that I am grateful.

The terrible events that happened on this day 13 years ago took a great deal away from us… lives were lost, lives were changed, and a nation’s sense of security was forever altered.  Our country was shaken, but we were not defeated.

This day has taught all of us that no one can lay claim to the future, and that we must all make every day count.  And we can gain strength from the many people who have chosen service over self.  Some of them are here with us this morning.

So, as we reflect on what happened to our country in 2001, let us also remember to thank the men and women who have sworn to serve and protect us from harm.

Thank you.

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