Remembering 9/11: Ogden exhibit gives students detailed glimpse of tragedy
OGDEN — The 9/11 attacks may be seared in the memories of those alive at the time. Those born later are also well aware of what happened.
“They’ve always had teachers that talk about it. They hold a moment of silence,” said Kylie White, a history teacher at Bonneville High School in Washington Terrace.
Still, living in the moment when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred and learning about them after the fact are very different things. “It’s something we know happened, but it’s something we don’t fully understand,” said Cache Littrell, a Bonneville High School 11th-grader who was not yet born when the attacks occurred.
The 20th anniversary retrospective of the attacks at the Weber County Fairgrounds complex is meant to help bridge the gaps in knowledge, and on Friday hundreds of school kids passed through, including Cache and others from Bonneville High School, getting an intense 9/11 history lesson. The exhibit, featuring video recordings, written material and photos, is called Weber Remembers: The 9/11 Project and it concludes on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
The public is welcome, and hours of operation Saturday will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibit is focused in Exhibition and Recreation halls at the fairgrounds, 1000 N. 1200 West in Ogden.
“I want to keep the memory alive,” said Scott Zink, a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department now living in Park City who aided in the response to the 9/11 attacks. He’s taking part in Weber Remembers, manning a booth in garb with NYPD markings, talking to visiting students and others. His booth features a jagged scrap from one of the airplanes that hit the Twin Towers that day that he was able to get his hands on.
Taking part in activities like Weber Remembers is about being mindful of the horror that occurred with an eye to preventing a repeat, Zink said. The details of what happened can get lost to history. It’s also about honoring those who helped in the response. “There are so many untold heroes that nobody knows about,” Zink said.
The students visiting the exhibit Friday are no doubt versed in the tragedy.
Bailee Ward, a 10th grader at Bonneville High School, has heard stories from her mother and others about 9/11. Many across the nation were just getting ready for the day when news came across the television about the unfolding events. Her mom “was watching it and it was like the world went silent,” Bailee said.
Lucas Staten, another Bonneville 10th grader, said his parents were helping his older siblings get ready for school. “They were just shocked and stuff,” he said.
Still, to them it’s second-hand information.
“I know it’s a big deal, but you don’t really feel it,” not having been there, said Emma Spikes, a Bonneville High School 11th grader. “I just know it was very upsetting.”
That’s not to say seeing video or photos of what happened isn’t disturbing. “They show it in class, it’s really scary,” said Zulufa Kabuo, an 11th grader.
And the exhibit, said Will Burton, a 10th grader, helps fill in some of the blanks. “It’s a very sad day,” he said.
Michelle Carver Martinez, a teacher at Uintah Elementary, was at the exhibit on Friday with her class of fourth-graders. She had prepped them before the visit with discussions and more about 9/11. The lessons seemed to sink in, suggesting the momentousness of the day isn’t fading.
“Their reaction is a lot of silence,” and incredulity that someone could carry out such deeds, she said. “They really want to understand why.”
Hundreds of volunteers helped bring the exhibit together under the auspices of the Major Brent Taylor Foundation. Some 3,500 students were expected to visit as part of field trips and organizers were expecting as many as 6,000 visitors in all.
The exhibit opened to the public for a three-day run on Thursday. More details are at majorbrenttaylor.com/itinerary.