Warwick students, staff, first responders remember 9/11

By on September 12, 2018

On Sept. 11, 2001, the morning sky was clear and blue.

Seventeen years later, students, first responders and school officials gathered at Warwick High School on Sept. 11, 2018 to remember the tragedy of 9/11.

The students stood in front of their high school on a misty morning, most of them far too young to remember the day that changed life in America in 2001.

“I wasn’t born yet,” said Warwick High School sophomore Aydin Thompson, 15. “But I learned about it from teachers and my parents. I think it made a big difference in the way we think about safety.”

Sophomore Abigail Brubaker, 15, came to the memorial service to show her appreciation to the first responders who served at 9/11 and those who serve the local community.

“It is important that we always remember the lives that were lost and the first responders. It is a moment that changed history,” said Brubaker, who was not yet born in 2001.

Another sophomore, Dalton Steiner, is even younger. At 14, his awareness of 9/11 comes from lessons in school and recollections from his family.

“Today security when we fly is even higher, and that’s the way it has always been for me,” said Steiner.

Jack Castellitto, 13, is a seventh grader at Warwick Middle School. He wanted to come to the ceremony to remember those who died on that devastating day.

“We must be careful to never let it happen again,” said the young teen of the attack on American civilians that killed nearly 3,000 people that day.

Castellitto is the youngest son of Warwick High School social studies teacher, Paul Castellitto, advisor to the high school Civics Club. It was the sixth year that Castellitto had planned the early morning memorial service at 7:10 a.m. just before students began their school day.

More than 25 students were among those who attended the service. One of them was Amelia Fair, who sang the National Anthem in her fresh, clear voice, as she had done at last year’s ceremony.

“I was just three months old, but I grew up knowing that it had changed our whole world,” said Fair.

Three local first responders were honored at the 9/11 tribute, including Captain Michael Winters, of Lancaster Bureau of Police’s Criminal Investigations Division; Chris Buchmoyer, operations chief of the Warwick Community Ambulance Association; and Marlene Barr,  director of education and community outreach of the Warwick Community Ambulance Association.

The guest speaker was John Schofield, coordinator of school safety and security for the Warwick School District. Schofield retired as detective sergeant for the Lititz Borough Police Department. He served as chief of the Warwick School District Police, working hand-in-hand with Warwick’s school resource officer and Lititz Borough Police. Before serving with the Lititz Borough Police Department Schofield spent eight years as a law enforcement officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Looking back at Sept. 11, 2001, Schofield recalled that he had dropped his daughter off at nursery school and said good-bye to her with a hug. Just hours later, he was at work at the police station when he heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. At first, it seemed like it could be an accident.

“When the second plane hit, we knew it was a terrorist attack,” said Schofield.

The chaos that ensued meant that parents wanted to get their children, to be with their loved ones at a time of tragedy. Schofield wanted to get his own daughter.

“But here in Lititz, we didn’t know what was happening as events unfolded. We needed to protect and secure our community,” said Schofield.

Despite the attempts of terrorists to divide our country, Schofield recalled that 9/11 made Americans unite as a country.

“They failed,” said Schofield.

He reminded those attending the service to always remember those who died on that day, along with the first responders who rushed toward danger, instead of away from it.

“Ever since then, I have appreciated the respect for police, ambulance, fire fighters and military.” said Schofield. “I am always so touched when someone says ‘thank you for your service.’ That means so much to us.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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