BIDWELL — River Valley High School American History students spent the early part of the week remembering the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, 17 years after the fall of the World Trade Center towers.
Students in Lynn Sheets’ and Brea McClung’s classes both laid shoes outside of the school in remembrance of victims with American flags tucked around them. Students were assigned to search through names of victims and research the life of a chosen individual before then presenting that person’s life to classmates.
“We call it the Empty Shoes Project,” said McClung. “We go outside and they pay tribute by reading their information. It’s to represent walking in another’s steps.”
“Even kids who you wouldn’t think would normally get into it, they can get really passionate about it,” said RVHS Principal Dr. T.R. Edwards.
Hannah Jacks described the life of Sirius, a Labrador Retriever, that served as a Port Authority Police canine of New York and New Jersey. He and his handler David Kim were in the basement office of the south tower when the first plane struck. Kim put Sirius in his crate and went off to the damaged tower to help. Before Kim could return, the tower collapsed followed by the other. Kim himself was buried in rubble before being recovered. Sirius was the only dog to reportedly die in the towers’ collapse.
Lindsey Abbott presented the lives of husband and wife duo Kenneth and Jennifer Lewis, who had both served as flight attendants on American Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon. The pair had never been on the same flight before but the pair planned when they landed to go on vacation together. Abbott said she has seen the crash location because she has a relative who works around the Pentagon.
Nick McCown presented the life of Welles Crowther who was a stock trader. He would be remembered as the man with the red bandana. Crowther had served as a volunteer firefighter with his father and had received a bandana from him at age six. He reportedly wore a bandana around his mouth and nose as he assisted several other individuals to escape the towers before he was last seen assisting the New York City Fire Department heading up the stairs when the south tower collapsed.
McClung said her sophomores this year were the first group she has taught that were not alive for the terrorist attacks and emphasized the importance in how American life had changed with the event.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.