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Maspeth High School Principal Reflects on 9/11

Good morning students and faculty of MHS and JFK, Jr. HS.

Monday September 11th, 2001‎ is a day that will never be forgotten. Although 16 years have gone by, that day is etched in the memories of all of us who personally experienced it. Three weeks ago, I had a principal’s conference at 4 World Trade Center. This was my first time returning to what became known as “ground zero” since a few week before the terrorist attacks. In the late 1990s, I used to frequent the World Trade Center, the World Financial Center and Battery Park. I would ride my bike from Brooklyn to enjoy the panoramic views of lower Manhattan. I was a member of the Manhattan Yacht Club and learned to sail on the Hudson River just feet from where the twin towers used to stand. Walking around the area for the first time in 16 years and seeing the footprints of where the towers once stood brought back so many memories, both happy and painful.   

After walking over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn where I lived around 11am on September 11th and seeing the fires and carnage, I’ve spent the last decade and half in shock. In some ways, everyone I know who experienced it personally is still searching for answers. I didn't go back until recently. Until I had to. The shock of what happened is still there. Working in Manhattan that day, on 53rd St. and Park Ave, we didn't know if more planes were headed towards us, didn’t know if we would be next and didn't know if we'd ever be safe again. 

If that was my personal experience, I can only imagine the suffering and pain of those trapped in the burning towers and the heartbreak of those who will never see their beloved again. I can only imagine the emptiness of the families of the firefighters and brave men and women who were part of the rescue efforts who did not survive. 

As Americans and New Yorkers we should always remember and never forget the tragedy of 9-11. Some of you were not born yet or are too young to remember this tragic event but this day also impacted the trajectory of your life. It is part of your history as an American. We are still dealing with the repercussions and mental trauma of this day and I hope and pray we will never have to live through something like that again. 

In honor of the families who lost loved ones on 9-11 in NYC, at the Pentagon just outside of Washington DC area or on Flight 93 which crashed in Somerset, PA let us bow our heads and have a moment of silence. 

Thank you Maspeth faculty and students. 


Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, Principal

Maspeth High School