Sunday, April 28, 2013

Plant a Tree at Flight 93

Last Saturday April 20th I had a chance to volunteer at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The weather could not have been much worse-cold, windy, and snowy. The experience could not have been better! Some times it is hard to pick the best part of a really great day so I won't try to pick one, but right at the top was the opportunity to spend time with Debby Borza, the mother of youngest hero Deora Bodley. Whenever I am with Debby the idea that I have young adult daughters always comes to mind. Debby has worked tirelessly on getting the Memorial built. She has served on boards and been very active in western Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the board of the Friends of Flight 93 and was there last Saturday to help plant seedlings. To see her there made me jump-to find out I would be in her work group made me jump straight up in the air! If you ever watch the film United 93-watch all the extras at the end. There is a segment when actors from the film visit the families of the hero they portrayed. The young actress that portrayed Deora visited Debby at her then home in California shortly after the completion of the film. It is moving and captures the spirit of Debby Borza. On the first anniversary of the shootings at Chardon High School I had my students engaged in a peace activity. I have a poster in my room with a quote from Deora-, "People ask how, what, where, when and why. I ask peace." One of my students wanted to include this in her peace message. I was so moved I had to contact Debby to let her know. Deora was nine when she wrote this. That evening on the way to a memorial for the three boys killed at Chardon High School on 2/27/12, I received a phone call from Debby. Debby was able to give me comfort in that phone call. I was having trouble with what I felt was a lack on my school's part on memorializing the lives lost. She intellectualized what had likely happened and gave me solace. This is the kind of person she is. It has been an honor for me to have met her and to be able to call her a friend and a Friend (of Flight 93). Prior to moving out to our work site my friend and colleague from Chardon Middle School, Julie Kenny and I sat with Debby and listened to short speeches from the corporate sponsors: Alcoa Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, NASCAR, NRG Energy, Pocono Raceway, and The UPS Foundation. Governor Tom Corbett spoke as well and brought a small seedling from Gettysburg which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. I was also pleased to see and visit with King Laughlin of the National Park Service who is the Flight 93 Manager. A visit to Flight 93 would not be complete without seeing Donna Glessner, Barbara Black, Adam Schaffer, and Jeff Reinbold. Donna is secretary of the Friends Board, Barbara wears many hats(literally), Adam is an NPRS Ranger who seems to always be on duty whenever our school visits, and Jeff is the Park Manager. In his remarks Jeff mentioned that this land was once a forest, then a farm, then a mine, then abandoned into a field again, and now a memorial that will one day be a forest again. Last Sunday evening there was a 60 Minutes segment on the opening of the 9/11 Museum next year. I was thrilled to hear all victims of 9/11 will be included at the museum. When I shared this with Barbara in an e-mail the next day she told me the folks in NYC had been in touch with PA. As I have said in earlier blogs....as spring is here and summer approaches, consider a visit to the Flight 93 Memorial in your travel plans-you won't be disappointed.

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