SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

September 11, 2013

Stacey: High school seniors remember Sept. 11 ... when they were in kindergarten

They were just 5 years old and knew something was wrong ... but had no idea what.

That was a dozen years ago today, when the high school seniors of today from across the North Shore were in kindergarten. They were, by and large, unaware of the events that were changing their country — and the world as we knew it — forever.

September 11, 2001. A day that will never, ever be forgotten by those of us who heard the news or watched the horrific events unfold that morning.

But what about those who were too young to know what exactly was happening?

Their journey as schoolchildren was literally just beginning, the kindergartners of 2001-02, on that dark day a dozen years ago. They may have sensed something was amiss, but wouldn’t have had an idea exactly what that was.

Now, as high school seniors, they have an acute sense of what they were unable to fathom.

Kate Lipka was two weeks shy of her sixth birthday and just starting school at St. John’s Elementary School in Peabody when the announcements came over the school’s intercom.

“As a kindergartner I had no idea what was going on,” said Lipka, now a senior at Bishop Fenwick and one of the best volleyball players on the North Shore. “But you saw panic in people’s faces, and that was certainly scary.

“I remember everyone being sent home from school, and when I got home with my parents they were both watching TV intently. It was kind of nerve-racking, seeing these people you love so concerned and knowing something was wrong.”

Drew Fossa was also in kindergarten at St. Mary’s in Beverly but was going half-days, and his session was in the afternoon.

“I remember waking up that morning and saw the (Twin Towers) burning on TV, but didn’t realize what it was about,” said Fossa, now a 17-year-old cross country star at Peabody High. “I remember it being strange seeing that. And my parents didn’t say what happened, obviously; that would’ve made me scared.

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