Community observes 20th anniversary of 9/11

Shoes left by Davis Middle School students line the front walkway and entrance of the school on Friday, Sept. 10, in Evanston. The shoes symbolize those left at a little church near the World Trade Center in New York City where many firefighters left their shoes during the rescue effort following the 9/11 attacks and never returned. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — On Friday, Sept. 10, students at Davis Middle School began the morning by gathering in their homerooms. The individual homeroom teachers told the children the story of the “Little Chapel That Stood” and the events that happened in New York City 20 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001. 

On that day, on 9/11, when the U.S. was attacked by terrorists the students at DMS were not even born. The teacher’s telling of that event may have been the first time those children heard of that tragic day. The little chapel from the story is only a few blocks from where the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center stood and was where the firemen changed from their street clothes into their fire gear and left their shoes hanging on the fence surrounding the chapel. When the day ended, there were many shoes still hanging — many of the firemen lost their lives attempting to rescue people from the burning towers.

DMS Principal Chris Brown has planned a commemorative event each year for 9/11 and this year, the students began the day with the story and then all, including teachers and staff, silently proceeded in a line out of the school. As they passed the cement wall surrounding the entrance to the school, the students hung their shoes on the wall.

They proceeded down the sidewalk, where they walked between parallel lines of police and military officers, down the stairs to a line of firefighters, and between two fire trucks and proceeded to the back door of the school to return to their classrooms. After their first class ended, students returned to retrieve their shoes. The entire procession was nearly silent, with only a “thank you” given from students to the officers and firemen.

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