ASU West campus students, Valley leaders reflect on 9/11
Forty-nine flags, each of which representing approximately 65 civilians who lost their lives on 9/11, stood on Fletcher Lawn on the West campus on Thursday night.
Betty Ong, a flight attendant on one of the hijacked planes, was one of the civilians represented by the flags.
She attempted to call the American Airlines's reservation desk, pleading for help, in a message recorded in infamy. State Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, read it for those at the memorial.
"The cockpit is not answering."
"Somebody's stabbed in business class."
"I think there's mace — we can't breathe. ... I think we've been hijacked."
Another life lost was that of Nina Bell, whom Glendale Union High School District Governing Board Member Patty Kennedy remembered as a friend. Many in fear following the attack asked for greater security, but instead Kennedy asked the American people and the student body to treasure and uphold the freedoms that caused such a hatred toward the U.S.
"I challenge you to think about freedom differently ... how our founding fathers meant it," Kennedy said. "Not as freedom from, but as freedom to."
The keynote speaker, Captain Wayde Kline from the Phoenix Fire Department, gave an inside look into the eyes of the heroes who bravely ascended the Twin Tower stairs. While watching the news from the fire station he said he felt a "magnitude of horror."
"No one spoke," he said. "As I looked at the picture of the one World Trade Center tower, with smoke and flames from it, I couldn't help but notice the large gash in its side. ... I just remember thinking about my firefighting tactics and strategy training."
He said he questioned how he would respond and how he would have his men respond to the situation.
Kline said Sept. 11 changed the way he saw the world and things in his life.
"I've never looked at my family, my job and the world the same way since," he said.
Despite all the harm that has been thrown towards American citizens and ideals, the American people still are strong, Yee said.
"We as Americans are proud to stand tall," she said. "We were and we are stronger than ever. This is the land of the free, the home of the brave. From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave this is the country where free men shall stand. In our time of need, and in our time of triumph, may we remember our motto, 'in God is our Trust.'"
Both Kline and Yee adamantly supported the need to unite and communicate these stories as this event is remembered more distantly, as a historic event instead of a personal memory.
"We strive to find hope, in the haunting moments that still linger within us," Kline said. "No one can tell us how long the sadness will remain with us in the years to come, but we gather here again, to remember."
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @rachael_ta
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article misspelled Betty Ong's name. This version has been updated with the correct spelling.