The majority of Upper School students at Monday Morning Meeting were not yet alive when terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, but guest speaker Christie Coombs P '12 calmly and clearly walked them through a day that forever changed the world.
Coombs is the widow of Jeffrey Coombs, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston who was one of thousands killed that day. Christie and Jeff's three children are Matthew, Meaghan, and Julia Coombs '12.
"For you, it's history. For us, it's part of our lives," Coombs told the attentive crowd.
Coombs provided a timeline of events, from the terror and confusion of that day to the heroism of first responders to the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the War on Terror. She offered intimate details of the tragic day, beginning with the gorgeous weather that preceded attacks on New York's World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. She reminded students that the hijackers targeted cross-country flights with large amounts of fuel to maximize damage.
"The devastation was unimaginable," she said.
In discussing the aftermath of 9/11, she recalled telling her children and others that, while the hijackers all hailed from the Middle East, "this was not the work of one religion. It was an extremist group, and there's no need to fear Muslims."
She also told the audience that an attack meant to divide Americans instead united them, albeit in grief.
"The amount of love and compassion shown to the (9/11) families was just incredible," Coombs said.
Today (Wednesday, Sept. 11), the Upper School holds its first Dress Down Day fundraiser of the year. Proceeds benefit the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation, which was formed "to assist Massachusetts families who are in financial need because of a death, illness, or other situation that challenges the family budget." On Monday, Coombs thanked students for their generosity and reminded everyone of the 18th annual Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk, and Family Day taking place this Sunday (Sept. 15) in Abington.
"It (the donations) means a lot to Julia, and it means a lot to me," said Coombs.
In keeping with the "Never Forget" message, Thayer Academy remembers all victims of the 9/11 attacks, including Jennifer Kane '93. A CPA with McLellan and Marsh, Kane, 26, died during the attack on Tower 1 in New York City.
The American flag stands at half-staff Wednesday in memory and honor of all 9/11 victims.
A memorial at Thayer honoring Jennifer Kane '93 and all 9/11 victims.