I had heard on the news that 9/11 was a National Day of Service to commemorate the events of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City that left many dead and some missing, however, after nearly two decades, I never had actually acknowledged their lives by my own participation in this national event. That is, until Sunday, 9/15/2013. Every year, for incoming freshmen and their parents, Friends Seminary organizes a 9/11 Day of Service event. On that Sunday, both Friends Seminary parents and 9th grade students begin the day with a communcal breakfast and then we’re divided into groups that volunteer with partner nonprofits. My group worked with Dorot. Following an informative Orientation at their headquarters, we delivered food to the elderly who either live alone, or with a caretaker and had a chat with them for about an hour. This was a great opportunity to get to know other incoming freshmen, while at the same time giving back to the community.
We delivered food to Mrs. B, someone who actually witnessed the attack, when the planes purposely and suicidally crashed into the World Trade Twin Towers. She had been a front line witness in the event that devastated New York and a part of its glory. She had a caretaker and two daughters and a grandson, who did not live with her. It was her nephew that lived in New York City, visited her once a week and called every night. She was very, very interesting, even if there were times of awkward silence. I mean I’m not really what people would consider a social person, but along with my mother, Zara, and her mother, we made a great group. I learned a lot about the troubles she has nowadays, where she originally came from (Germany), and why she doesn’t go outside so much nowadays (she has to take a wheelchair, which is not compatible with sidewalks of New York City). She had a beautiful apartment, but it was clear what she lacked was contact with other people. It took so little to give her that social interaction she so clearly needed. During this day of volunteering, I felt connected to my fellow students, the school community, and Ms. B. In many ways, I benefited as much as Ms. B from the experience.
To all those lives lost and all of those that were destroyed, know that you are forever remember in the hearts of all those that know of the 9/11 attack.
-Fatoumata Mbaye, Class of 2017