SLUH Remembers 9/11 on 20th Anniversary

Scroll below to view a reflection by SLUH Board member John Schaefer '70, who headed Morgan Stanley on 9/11.

(Photos by Patrick Zarrick '77)

Students in Mr. Glass's and Mr. Zarrick's PE classes visited the Flags of Valor Memorial in Forest Park on Friday, September 10. They learned about the moving display and prayerfully reflected on all who lost their lives, and those who stepped up to serve and sacrifice in the days, weeks and years following the 9/11 attacks.

The memorial runs through Sunday, September 12. More than 7,500 flags pay tribute to the first responders killed on 9/11 and the military service members who lost their lives in the War on Terror that followed. Each flag includes a photo and dog tag identifying who the flag is memorializing. The flag, photo and dog tag will be given to the family of the fallen soldier or first responder.

According to the Flags of Valor Memorial's website, "appropriately, the memorial is a solemn experience. Overwhelming rows of flags stand tall, equidistant. Each pays proud tribute to a person taken too soon – those who have courageously fought the War on Terror since. As we stand motionless, we hear the whisper of our country’s flags waving gently in the wind. The clinking of dog tags asking to be read, to be remembered."

VIDEO CREDITS

  • Drone video footage by Thomas Ziegler '22.
  • Students pictured are freshmen in Mr. Zarrick's and Mr. Glass's PE classes.
  • Megan O'Brien, appearing in the video, gave a presentation with the Patriot Training Foundation to SLUH students, explaining the memorial.

Reflection on 9/11

By John Schaefer '70
SLUH Board of Trustees

As some of you know, I headed a business at Morgan Stanley that was based at the World Trade Center complex. On the morning of 9/11, I was at a meeting at our corporate headquarters in midtown. We had 2,700 employees in Two World Trade supporting 10,000 others located in our nationwide branch network. We were at that location in 1993 when the complex was car bombed. The result was a well planned and regularly practiced evacuation plan that was flawlessly executed on 9/11. All but 11 employees made it out of the complex. The timeline makes that hard to believe. The first building was hit at 8:46 a.m.; our building was hit 9:03 a.m. and collapsed at 9:59 a.m.

There were many heroes that day. I was not one. I was just a very well prepared, efficient business person who immediately focused on our recovery plan. The first step was to track down all of the evacuated employees who were spread across the tri-state area to ensure they were safe and sound. We manned our back up sites and when the markets opened a week later we were open for business supporting our branch system.

It was soon thereafter that I began to gain a real feel for what my colleagues downtown experienced. Words and feelings that come to mind – horror, fear, confusion, anger, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, sadness…mixed with determination, camaraderie, selflessness, compassion, relief and even happiness when loved ones were found.

It became clear how precious yet fleeting life, family and friendship can be. Here today…gone tomorrow. How often do we embrace life with only the moment in mind? So often we are by nature always looking ahead…just remember “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”…I like to think that was a lyric from John Lennon but as is so often the case today that is in dispute…but none the less spot on in terms of message.

So, without being dramatic or maudlin…I leave you with a few thoughts I’ve taken away from that day. Take time every day to hug the ones you love, to tell them you love them. Take an extra minute to listen, to smile, to laugh, to be in the moment. You will never regret it. Know that so many family and friends of those who died on 9/11 wish they had just on more minute with their loved ones.




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Jr. Bills visited the Flags of Valor Memorial in Forest Park to learn about and reflect on the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks.