By Sophia Milla (‘20)
A group of U.S. History students in social studies teacher Mr. Ramon Quinones’ class began the construction of a mural to commemorate the tragic attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. The mural took focus on the architectural beauty of the Twin Towers in New York City and of the attacks, as the memories fade away with time. The attack on the World Trade Center, along with the Flight 93 incident and the attack on the Pentagon are collectively known as 9/11.
The students began constructing the eye-catching mural around the beginning of March, which strives to model the actual appearance of the towers. Strikingly, the mural is not being painted on a flat wall. Rather, it has been split between two large columns that stand in the classroom, to represent the imposing presence of the North and South Towers.
Mr. Quinones said, “You can see how there are two structures standing out on the columns. But originally, it was going to be flat.”
The columns, which stick out of the walls, emphasize two notable elements: the lines and the painted numbers on the columns.
Sophomore Soumya Rednam was one of the painters of the mural, and she said that “You’re sitting right in front of a mural in class, so you can see it. The lines will hit people’s eyes first, and if you’re standing from another angle, then the numbers will hit people’s eyes first.”
While the lines and numbers stand out aesthetically, both elements hold a deeper meaning to them.
Mr. Quinones said, “The lines are important because they represent the steel that held the stacked 110 floors of the trade center in place by acting as support, otherwise, the 110 stacked floors could [have] easily fall over like a stack of 110 pancakes.”
On the other hand, the numbers on the mural represents the statistics of what happened during the incident.
Rednam also said, “Some people just know the basics and not the numbers.”
The sets of numbers are on both towers. On the North Tower the numbers, read from top to bottom, represent which tower was hit first, the flight of the plane that hit the tower, the time the tower was hit, the time it collapsed, the passengers on the plane and the number of people who died inside the tower.
As the students painted the mural, some realized how they their views have changed on 9/11.
Another painter, sophomore Sachi Chemburkar, said that “Painting the mural has changed by views… I felt more connected. At first I thought it was remembering people but painting it was like doing something to represent it. Looking at the wall, I was proud of what we did. It’s there to represent all the people that died on that day.”
The work the students have done not only stands as a memorial, but also helps other students enhance their learning about 9/11.
Sophomore Anika Menon, who is also a painter, said, “Currently, we are not learning about 9/11. But what we learn is connected. A lot of what we learn is connected to the ‘why.’”
With the implemented mural, the goal is to allow students to truly commemorate the events and to enhance their learning in the classroom.
The students also plan to paint a mural to commemorate the Armenian Genocide before the year closes. Like the 9/11 memorial, that too can spark a whole new conversation and reflection about important world events that must be remembered inside and outside of the classroom.