Honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11

First responders and military personnel in attendance

Students, faculty, staff and board members all gathered on the Great Lawn Friday, Sept. 10 to honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The ceremony opened with the pledge of allegiance, led by Oak Park High School ASB president, Amaan Nabeel, and closed with “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by the OPHS choir.

In attendance were also members of the California Highway Patrol, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Station 36 Fire Department, U.S. Army and U.S. National Guard.

“On this day, we come together as a community, to remember those we lost, and honor our first responders and our military for all their contributions and sacrifices,” OPHS Principal Mat McClenahan said during the ceremony.

McClenahan reflected on how he personally felt during the attacks that took place on 9/11, explaining that he used to live in New York City and often dreamed of seeing the East Coast from the top of the World Trade Center.

“I’d always figured I’d go, but I never did,” McClenahan said. “Students, you never know what is going to happen. Do not wait on what you want to do. Do not wait.”

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Davis spoke as well, commenting that Sept. 11, 2001, was “imprinted” in his mind as if it were yesterday.

“On 9/11, 2001, our country was not divided like we see today. We stood as one nation, and held each other tight during those difficult times,” Davis said. “It has been 20 years since then, but that tragic day would serve as a true test of American spirit.”

McClenahan explained why it is necessary to revisit the events of the past.

“When you talk about history then and history now, I think it’s important to pause and pay attention to significant events that impacted our society and the tremendous loss of life and tremendous heroism by our police or firefighters in our military,” McClenahan said.

The entire ceremony was recorded for those who were unable to attend due to COVID-19 protocol: LINK