Thursday, January 3, 2013
With a new year come new possibilities and new promises. For those of us who are educators the year ended quite sadly and tragically with the shootings in Newtown and the deaths of 26 students and teachers. I cannot comprehend what it would be like to lose my leader, 5 colleagues, and 20 students from my building. I have read in newspaper accounts that is important for students to have routines and for teachers and students to get back to the business of teaching and learning. I have also read everyone has to get used to the new normal. I read and heard similar phrases after the Chardon High School shootings of 2/27. I'm sure the families of all who lost loved ones on 9/11 feel this even more deeply. Every tragedy probably brings back the pain more acutely for them. The students at Sandy Hook Elementary are moving into a closed middle school as I write this post. The former Chalk Middle School will be renamed Sandy Hook Elementary and the school has a new administrator-a former retired principal of the "old" Sandy Hook Elementary. Many people have told me it would be best if the old school were demolished. The schools and community of Chardon are determining the best way to remember the three students killed on February 27th. Where will the memorial be and what will it look like? No doubt the town and school district of Newtown will do the same as they move forward in 2013. After September 11, 2001 a temporary memorial began at Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A small town-a very small town became the center of attention. Unless you have been to Shanksville it is hard to capture just how small it is. Now a permanent memorial is there-and it just completed its first full year of operation-a very successful year judged by the number of visitors. As the nation and Shanksville and the Flight 93 Memorial move on in 2013 it is time to look toward the next phase of construction-The Visitors and Learning Center. A sacred place and a place to reflect is there-the architects did an outstanding job. The National Park Service and its fine staff and all the great volunteers are in place to greet visitors. With the new facilities probably in place by 2014 more of the story can be told. The nation and really the world will not forget the tragedies I have mentioned even as the years unfold. As people visit Shanksville this year and in the years to come they will seek their own personal way to remember the worst tragedy on our soil in our history.