Updated 11/09/2011 04:17 PM
Former 9/11 New York Fire Commissioner speaks to students
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HIGH POINT — Students at Westchester Country Day School had a special guest speaker Wednesday.
The former 9/11 New York Fire Commissioner, Thomas Von Essen, spoke to 5th through 12th-graders about 9/11 and lessons he learned from it. He hopes the students will understand the importance of public service.
The 9/11 Fire Commissioner said it can be hard to teach kids about the tragic day.
“If a kid is 19-years-old or 20-years-old, they were 9 and 10 when this happened and their parents probably shielded them from it. So they've only heard bits and pieces as the years have gone by,” said Former NY Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.
Yet Von Essen is hoping to start a dialogue with the students at Westchester Country Day School to let them know what it was like to be there. Von Essen was among the first to arrive at the scene on 9/11, it was only by luck he was not in the towers when they collapsed.
“It's difficult I think with the different groups 5th-grader, 8th-grader. There's some of the gory details you may not want to go in to, in front of a 5th-grader that I think is appropriate for a high school kid,” said Von Essen.
A large portion of the students do not know very many details from 9/11. But those that do, understand what an momentous occasion it is to listen to Von Essen speak.
“It kind of, I guess, humbled me to think about what he went through and all the people he knew and all the people that he lost and everything,” said Westchester Country Day School 8th-Grader, Mike Baumann.
Von Essen is also speaking to students at High Point University.