The Gray Line Tour: The lessons will inspire children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 18, 2002


Watching children reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001 brought back my own memories, not only of last year’s tragic events, but also other “where were you?” days in my own life.

I remember I was in band class at Mimosa Park Elementary School when the intercom clicked on and principal Russell Giammanco announced that Pres. John F. Kennedy had been shot during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Many of us remember that day and the whirlwind of events and images which followed, from the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson aboard Air Force One, with Jackie Kennedy standing near, her dress still stained with her husband’s blood, to the funeral with John-John’s salute, to the murder on live television of Lee Harvey Oswald.

I spent most of those days immediately following that assassination at my grandparents’ home in Mississippi, glued to the television, as history unfolded.

Other similar events also stick out in my mind: the 1968 assassinations of Robert Kennedy and of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Challenger explosion and the murder of John Lennon.

Similarly, my dad has told me of his hearing about Pearl Harbor while he was taking U.S. Army basic training in San Francisco.

However, Sept. 11 will remain one of those “where where you?” days for this generation. It will remain, as now, a day of sadness and solemnity. However, it will also remain as a day to stir one’s patriotism, determination, courage and hope.

This generation has the potential to become another “greatest generation,” if they take Sept. 11, 2001, and transform it into the launch of a new American pride and determination to make America and the rest of the world a better place for their own children.

That’s what happened before and will certainly happen again. We’re that way.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur.