As families across the East End prepared to celebrate this July 4th weekend, an impressive action taken by one Westhampton Beach 9-year-old reminded us all of the incredible significance of the holiday.
Sean Jordan, a student in the Westhampton Beach School District, approached the school board in April with the idea to have a moment of silence on the anniversaries of both the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, to honor the memories of the fallen heroes from these horrific events. Though the schools in Westhampton Beach currently fly their flags at half-mast on such solemn occasions, Jordan thought that more needed to be done to remind students of these tragedies. [expand]
This thoughtful action comes from a young man who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks. Andrew Jordan was a New York City firefighter when the planes hit the World Trade Center towers in 2001. His youngest son, Sean, was born just a few days after his father perished.
The 9-year-old history buff wanted his fellow students at Westhampton Beach Elementary School to “never forget,” which Sean is worried is already happening. This young generation, many of whom were born after the September 11 attacks, did not experience the surrounding fear and sadness of the time. Sean shared that three people in his class at school had never even heard of September 11. With such a frightening prospect of people forgetting the event that robbed him of a father, Sean was determined to take action.
“I was really proud that he could think of something like that,” Lisa Jordan, Sean’s mother, said. After her son Sean (a fan of the Intrepid museum in New York City) approached her with the idea of going to his principal to pitch the idea. She knew that they would have to go to an even higher authority to make the proposition a reality. So in April, Sean spoke to the Westhampton Beach School District school board.
The response was “very, very favorable” said superintendent Lynn Schwartz, and the board immediately gave the issue to the policy committee for official approval. Schwartz especially noted the appreciation that the school administration had for the proposal since it was a student initiative.
Then, only a week after Sean had first approached the board, the news reached America that Osama bin Laden had been killed. The patriotic atmosphere surrounding this event certainly did not hurt the proposal’s chance for success, and Sean’s idea passed unanimously on Monday, June 20.
Growing up in the Three Village Central School District upisland in East Setauket in the years surrounding September 11, I never realized that all schools did not respect a moment of silence to remember the tragedy. In our schools, this was introduced immediately following the tragedy. Such a private moment provided us with a chance to pray if we so chose, but more importantly to remember and honor the men and women whose lives were lost in the tragic event. It reminded us of the potential for such violent human action, but also of the potential for heroes to prove that truly courageous people exist in the world. Though Sean’s father lost his life in the 2001 terrorist attacks, his son will keep the memory of all of the victims of September 11 alive for years to come in the Westhampton Beach School District. [/expand]