On Monday, September 11, 2023, a select portion Wyandotte High School students attended a 9/11 event at the Coleman Theater in Miami, Oklahoma. The school was contacted by one of the organizers, Dr. Mark Osborn, about bringing a group to the event. The decision was made to send the 11th grade students who were currently taking US History and the group of senior students who were taking the US History course through NEO taught by a Wyandotte staff member. In all 70 students and 3 teachers (Mr. Judd Eidson, Mr. Aaron Posey, and Mr. Robertson) attended the event.
The event was hosted by the Ottawa County Historical Society and the Dobson Museum. Retired Navy Captain Joseph Gradisher was the speaker. He worked in the Pentagon as a public affairs liaison when the events on September 11th unfolded. He did a great job of explaining the history and background of the construction of the Pentagon, what the materials were made of, and how a very recent construction project just before 2001 that reinforced the Pentagon significantly undoubtedly saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. In the “A wing” of the Pentagon where he worked, had been a complete reinforcement project based on what was learned from the 1994 Oklahoma City Bombing. The intent was to reinforce the building as a potential target for terrorist activity against the threat of a truck bomb. Only that one wing had been reinforced at that time, with wings B, C, D, and E coming in the succeeding months. That was the wing that Flight 77 struck on 9/11. The nose cone of the plane came to rest just before Captain Gradisher’s office. Had the building not been reinforced, it would have swept through the entire Pentagon, killing many more.
Captain Gradisher’s experiences on 9/11 have made him a vocal proponent and active speaker in the years since. Remembering that event is something he believes that all of us need to be intentional about doing. There is not a student at Wyandotte Public Schools that was alive when that event unfolded, but their experiences, whether they know it or not, have been molded by the world’s and this country’s reaction to the events of that fateful day. Wyandotte students came home with a sober reminder that 9/11 traumatized a generation, and were encouraged to ask the adults in their lives what they remember about the day.
Wyandotte Public Schools is grateful to the organizers for putting on this event.🇺🇸