To mark the anniversary of 9/11, every year the city of San Luis Obispo partners with American Legion Post 66 to sponsor an annual memorial and remembrance event.
The theme of this year’s program is courage. It includes artwork by elementary school students on display Monday at Fire Station 1, 2160 Santa Barbara St., and an essay and poetry contest for Laguna Middle School students.
On this solemn anniversary, we share with our readers the winning poem by Audrey Browder, as well as poetry and essay entries from the runners-up.
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By Audrey Browder
A day in September
Is one to remember.
On that day planes were crashed
And buildings smashed.
Ash filled the sky
Where buildings lie.
It should be light
But it was dark as night.
Ash and debris had blocked their sight.
Who knows who will make it out all right?
And America cried.
I feel pride
For the ones who tried
Without them who would America be?
By Dylan White
It took more than courage
To run into the flames
To know that they may never walk back out
And still ride forward
To unite during one of America’s worst tragedies
They were some of the most rare
They were the most courageous of us all
By Alexis K. Quaresma
Courage is seeing flames, while hearing your heart racing
As the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center
Courage is wanting to run away, yet facing your fears
As the second plane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center
Courage is those people who had no choice but to jump, fire shows no mercy to what stands in its path
Fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, wives, husbands, children, grandchildren, friends all gone
Twin Towers fell, lives were lost
Courage is willing to fight despite the tears
Terrorism is selfish, courage is selfless
Courage is strength where there is weakness
Watching the towers crumble, as your heart shatters into a million tiny pieces
Courage is the firefighters, the policemen, the veterans, the civilians
It’s finding love and compassion despite all of the pain and suffering
Courage is looking up at where the towers used to be and being able to cry
But having the power to try to make a difference in someone else’s life
Courage is built out of love, strength, understanding, honor, and hope
Hope is Courage and Courage is Hope
By Jaylen Marchettî
The mental strength to venture past
the danger from the fiery blast.
They had the courage to go through
what some would never do.
With this memory
I know what courage means to me.
Moral strength to venture, persevere,
and withstand danger, more than ever heard.
I hope you will remember that day
for those who put themselves in harm’s way.
By Anne Frederickson
The day of September 11, 2001, was a day full of sadness and destruction, but mostly courage. It was courageous when, even though death was close at hand, people still decided to rise above and do what was right. Courage was when so many souls saw hope through the heavy smoke that blinded so many others and ran into it to help the ones that were lost in the rubble. Courage was when over 400 police officers and firefighters lost their lives by putting themselves last and the victims of the high flames first. Courage was when, even though they knew that they would lose their lives, the victims on the fourth hijacked plane saved so many people. They accepted their fate, took matters into their own hands, and died heroes with the courage they held within them.
Courage was shown like a bright light when, even at the risk of death by inhaling the dust, bystanders helped to search for life in the destruction left behind. Courage was shown by the many bystanders that ran into the flames with firefighters to save lives, even though they knew they might not make it out again. This fateful day was a horrible day in our history, but the people that showed their courage that day showed the world that there is a hero in all of us. We just need to find the courage to show it.
By Ava Buschur
Courage is like taking a leap into the unknown. Plunging into a bottomless pit without knowing if you will make it out. Courage is driven by the needs of others, not by empty words or thoughtless actions. Courage is like all those people who ran into the Twin Towers as soon as the plane hit on 9/11. Seeing all the love and help during a time of pain really showed the world what courage is and what it means.
People didn’t crumble in fear or lose hope that there were no survivors during 9/11. Instead, they put on their brave faces and hurried to help. They felt the adrenaline soar through their bodies before running into buildings and risking their lives. Courage, to me, has always been when someone goes out of their way and steps out of their fear to help others. If you see someone struggling, stepping in is the best option, sometimes the only option. Cowards stand and watch as people get hurt, but the brave dive in and help the ones who have given up hope. Courage takes the mindset of helping others even if it won’t benefit you. 9/11 showed me and the rest of the world that people need to step in and help when possible; people need to show courage when no one else will. Courage is hard to find in people, but when put to the test, the brave will stand out.
By Tate Isaacs
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants mounted an attack on the United States of America. Their goal was to hurt our nation. To tear it apart, to strike death, despair, and fear into American hearts. Yet on that fateful day something different happened. Instead of tearing our nation apart, it brought us together. Instead of showing our country how weak we were, it showed us our strength. It showed us the courage in every person’s heart. It showed us the men and women that would go beyond our expectations and protect the people of our country. It taught us how sadness, grief and loss could unite us.
On that day we lost more than we were willing to admit, but on that day we found something else. We found courage. Courage in the hearts of every single one of hundreds of police officers and firefighters that went into the towers undeterred by the fact that they could be killed. We found courage in the hearts of citizens willing to help in a time of need and courage in the hearts of all the passengers who fought the four hijackers on United Flight 93. When tough times came, we answered as a country. We came together as one to help and protect this nation we call home. We came together as one because our country needed us. We were all bound by courage.