BALDWIN PARK – Sierra Vista High School students, staff and faculty shared their reflections Friday about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks during the school’s regular Friday Flashback activity.

Individuals shared thank-you messages to first responders and military personnel, their thoughts about the event and personal memories on three posters displayed in different areas of the campus.

Messages ranged from a teacher’s memory of the shock at seeing planes strike the World Trade Center in New York City to Post-It Notes thanking firefighters and police officers for their heroism as the Twin Towers collapsed. Those contributing their reflections were encouraged to take photos and share their comments on social media with the hashtags #svthanksyou, #firstresponders and #armedforces.

“The events of 9/11 have had a resounding impact across our planet and in all of our lives, even for students who may not have been born when the attacks took place,” Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said. “These tribute posters are a great way for our school community to come together and share their very different perspectives on its impact on their lives and to thank those who stepped up in our protection since that day.”

The 9/11 attack involved 19 militants associated with al-Qaeda who hijacked four airplanes and attempted to fly them into U.S. targets. Two planes hit the World Trade Center, a third struck the Pentagon and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought against the hijackers. More than 3,000 people died, including some 400 first-responders.

The Sierra Vista remembrance effort was organized by Sierra Vista history faculty, led by social studies teachers Wendy Payan, Ana Rios and Jessica Englebretson.

“Sept. 11 was a major event in U.S. history, and when regular citizens were running away from the chaos, first-responders and military men and women stepped up to save lives and ran toward it,” Payan shared with the school community.

Her own memory, as a lifeguard at Citrus College, described how the impact of the second plane brought home the realization that this was an attack, not an accident.

“It was very overwhelming and scary,” she wrote on a special reflections sheet provided for the effort.


091216_BPUSD911_1: Sierra Vista High School U.S. World History teacher Wendy Payan shares her memories of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as part of a reflections activity on Friday, Sept 9. to mark the day’s 15th anniversary.

091216_BPUSD911_2: Members of the Sierra Vista High School community begin to add their reflections about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to one of three posters displayed on campus. Notes range from shock and fear at the day’s events to thank-you notes penned to firefighters, police and military personnel.