Alumni’s memories and memorial highlight 10 year anniversary

A decade has passed since the fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001. Few other days in the 21st century have impacted America in such a way since 9/11. The reason behind this is both a simple, yet unattainable answer that constantly plagues families all across the United States.

One of those families is the McPartland family, New York natives who moved to St. Charles in 1996. Now that brothers, alumni Ryan McPartland and Michael McPartland have graduated with the class of 2011 from Francis Howell Central, the family is planning on moving back to New York.

Sept. 11th was, as it was for most people, a nightmarish and chaotic day for the McPartland’s. A day that constantly pulls at the heartstrings of the family in their day-to-day lives. The day in question was, and still is, a massive blur of emotions for the family as a whole.

“The scariest part, besides witnessing a national tragedy in third grade, was the fact that our grandparents were flying into St. Louis that day to come for a visit [and] not knowing what exactly was going on.,” alumnus Ryan McPartland said. “We had no clue if they were on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center.”

The initial shock passed with time, but daily life is a constant reminder that is always on their minds, even living in the greater St. Louis area.

“New York City is our home, no matter how long we have lived in St. Louis,” mother Connie McPartland said. “New York City will always be where we are from, and with the Twin Towers gone, it hasn’t been the same. The healing has not ended, so we endure. The shock, the feeling of defilement, the pity and most of all, the loss of the brothers and sisters that touched us all.”

Ever since 2003, there have been plans to build a Ground Zero tribute to grandly reinstate the area of the once towering World Trade Center and ultimately pay respect to all the lives lost both on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The profoundly symbolised 16-acre memorial site in lower Manhattan opens to the public Sept. 12, 2011.

Many people are weary of the memorial for various reasons relating to the touchy subject. According to father, Frank McPartland, the feeling isn’t mutual. He believes it will stand as a testament to future generations; that what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001 should not be repeated in the future—anywhere in the world.

“I think we will see something emerging that really feels inspiring, which changes one’s view on the tragic event and keeps each and every thought and memory branded on our hearts forever,” Ryan McPartland said.

Once the McPartland’s move back to NYC, they have all intention on visiting the new memorial site multiple times and reflecting on the events of 9/11. To the family, the memorial site will be the most important and meaningful destination in New York — possibly the United States.

Perhaps the most encompassing statement pointing out the sheer poignancy of the tribute came from an interview with Ground Zero Master Planner, Daniel Libeskind in the Chicago Tribune (Aug. 7, 2011) about the deep, sympathetic humanity of his conception.

“How do you create a plan that doesn’t shift New York to sadness, but has a kind of civic quality, a symbolic quality that is positive?” said Libeskind.

The staple of 9/11, “Never Forget,” was America’s visceral reaction. With 10 long years come and gone not to mention the ground zero memorial and museum in the works, I think it is safe to say that the world will indeed “Never Forget.” The day truly is “branded on our hearts forever.”

“We Americans are proud people, but we are mostly a country with heart and soul and love for each other that keeps us united and strong,” said Connie McPartland.