Editor's Note: The following is a release from the Valley View School District.
seventh-grade language arts students wrote letters as a way of showing their support for the men and women who worked hours on end to rescue the survivors of the horrific events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
But little did the students know they would actually hear back from the folks at the New York Port Authority, as well as the New York State Police K9 Unit, the Washington D.C. Police Department, and others.
“It’s really nice to know that the younger generation shows interest in 9/11,” wrote New York State Trooper Scott Kuntz. “It is really important to remember that event and all (the) innocent victims and their families.”
Using actual footage of the 9/11 events and a story about service dogs in the classes’ language arts textbook, teacher Annette Fox helped the students better understand what happened.
Each student was given the opportunity to write to various rescue agencies in New York or Washington with the letters going out in October around Patriot Day. The NYPD responded with a general response to all of the letters within a few months. But recently letters from the NYPD Canine Unit came to individual students.
Alex Paleo’s letter asked about happened to service dogs if they died.
A New York State Trooper replied: “If they die during the time that they are working, they do get a memorial service.”
“It gave me kind of a funny feeling to hear about what happened,” Paleo said. “I don’t think I would want to see that.”
Brendan Coughlin’s letter marveled at how brave the officers and dogs were.
Trooper Oliver Reilly responded: “During 9/11 there were lots of dogs…from many states and even other countries as far away as France.”
“The letter described what they witnessed on 9/11,” Coughlin said. “It was pretty cool.”
“This is something they will remember. The responses instilled enthusiasm ad excitement in many of the students,” Fox said. “They realized that 12-and 13-year-olds can make a difference.”