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August 5, 2021

9/11 Memorial & Museum Offers Free Commemorative Program for Students, Educators and Community Organizations

Registration is now open for Anniversary in the Schools, an annual program in commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.


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By 9/11 Memorial & Museum Education Staff

Registration is now open for Anniversary in the Schools, an annual program in commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.

As we move closer to the milestone 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the education department at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is more committed than ever to offering resources that help young people better understand this historically significant event. To that end, registration is now open for Anniversary in the Schools, a free, on-demand commemorative program offered on Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

The program includes a 30-minute film showcasing a diverse slate of speakers sharing their personal 9/11 stories and an interactive live chat with museum staff answering student questions in real time. This year’s theme is twofold; the program will highlight the importance of commemorating the 20th anniversary for a generation with no memory of the attacks, and also how the lessons of 9/11 can help us with the challenges we face today.

This year’s program features six speakers, including first responders, survivors and family members, along with the voices of several speakers who were young people on 9/11. It is our hope that these speakers will highlight the importance of commemoration and offer messages of hope—demonstrating that we can move forward in the face of tragedy—a message particularly resonant this year. View a short trailer of this year’s program below, and continue reading to learn more about this year’s speakers.

Will Jimeno, a rookie officer with the Port Authority Police Department, was working in midtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11 when news of the attack broke. He and several other PAPD officers would report immediately to the World Trade Center. As they made their way through the shopping mall beneath the buildings, suddenly and without warning, the South Tower began to collapse. Jimeno would survive the collapse of both towers, becoming one of 18 people who were rescued in the hours following the attacks.

Bill Spade, a retired member of Rescue Company 5 of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), responded to the World Trade Center and began assisting in the evacuation of the North Tower. After ushering the last few civilians out of the building, Spade began making his way out of the North Tower just as it began to collapse behind him. He would later learn that he was the only member of his company to survive and that his uncle was aboard Flight 93, which crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pa.

John Spade was only two months old when his father, Bill, responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hearing his dad tell his story to other people instilled in John the importance of remembrance which, as he got older, inspired him to become a member of the museum’s ambassador program. Learning about the events of 9/11 and teaching others about that day reinforced in John the promise to “never forget.”

Brielle Saracini was only 10 years old when the events of 9/11 occurred. On that morning, her father, Victor J. Saracini, was the captain of United Airlines Flight 175, the plane that struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Following the attacks, Saracini sought comfort in the compassion of others and from watching sports, especially baseball. Saracini’s involvement in two organizations—Tuesday’s Children and Camp Better Days—allowed her to meet friends she would keep for years to come, including her husband, Sean McGuire.

Carlton Shelley was a student at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., the school that President George W. Bush was visiting on the morning of 9/11 when he was informed of the attacks. Years later, Shelley would pursue his education at the United States Military Academy at West Point. When reflecting on the reasons he decided to join the Army, he credits his decision to a deep sense of service and support for a nation that he believed in and cared about.

Cait Leavey was 10 years old when she lost her father, FDNY Lt. Joseph Leavey, on 9/11. In the years after the attacks, she was inspired by her father’s love for his community. She found a sense of strength and belonging at America’s Camp, which was created shortly after 9/11 for children who had lost a parent or loved one in the attacks. The love and healing she received at America’s Camp is what motivated her to pursue her passion in working with children impacted by trauma.

To learn more about the program, and register, visit

Be sure to watch 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s for-credit webinar on teaching about 9/11 here.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Through commemoration, exhibitions, and educational programs, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum remembers and honors the 2,983 people killed in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993, as well as those who risked their lives to save others and all who demonstrated... See More

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