The old adage of “time heals all wounds” does not always ring true. Thirteen years later, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are still clear memories and open wounds for most. On the morning of September 11, 2014, students of Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School took time to remember and commemorate the victims of terrorism and the heroes who stepped up to protect not only the victims, but the United States as a whole. With a special salute to the first responders, the school community came together to remember those who lost their lives in the vicious attacks, and also to thank the men and women who risk their lives every day to ensure the safety and security of the United States of America at home and abroad. The School invited two guests that represent such individuals, LAPD Senior Lead Officers Lenny Davis and Nina Preciado.
6th – 12th grade students gathered in the church to commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Senior student, Jacqueline Matian, recalled that September 11, 2001 happened to be her first day of pre-school. Even as a preschooler, she remembered seeing the worry in her parents’ faces and hearing the concern in their voices, and knew the significance of that day was something she would never forget. Nareg Bouldoukian, also a senior, expressed his thoughts in Armenian. He too remembered that day and at the end of his speech reminded those present that as victims of terror, it is the responsibility of the United States to be a strong presence for peace. He encouraged the audience to remember the victims, but to let the memory guide us toward peaceful change in the world. Nareg urged students of Pilibos to be ambassadors of change in their community and the world.
After the student addresses and mass by the priest of St. Garabed Armenian Church, Archpriest Reverend Father Vicken Vassilian, the students moved to the Pilibos campus to continue the commemorative event. Various military uniforms, some once worn by members of the Pilibos faculty, and uniforms of first responders were on display as examples of heroes that served so selflessly on that day. Vardan Mikayelian, a faculty member of the Social Studies Department, addressed the students about the real meaning of courage. He thanked the two members of the Los Angeles Police Department who work regularly with Pilibos to ensure a safe and secure environment for its students. Principal Dr. Alina Dorian thanked the officers for their continuous support and gave them certificates of appreciation and some fun Pilibos gear to further make them feel part of the Pilibos family. Officer Lenny Davis shared this thought with Dr. Dorian: “I am so honored to be here on a day such as this. I hope other schools take the time to remember what 9/11 means to us. However, when I attend such a service as this, I remember why I became a police officer. Thank you!”
Finally, Dr. Dorian wanted to honor the two members of the Pilibos faculty who have served America as active duty members of the United States Army. Sgt. Terry McCrory, who served during the Vietnam War, and Sgt. Oshin Baboomi, a new member of the Pilibos family, were each honored with an “I am Pilibos” award. Sgt. McCrory and Sgt. Baboomi were the first faculty members to be given such an honor. This special award is given to an individual who embodies the principles that are the foundation of Pilibos—integrity, courage, excellence and commitment to the community. The “I Am Pilibos” award is the most sought after at the school, as it indicates a true understanding of the pillars of the School, and it indicates the depth of the School’s gratitude toward those who go above and beyond to stand as examples to the rest of the student body. Congratulations and great thanks to Sgt. McCrory, Sgt. Baboomi, and all those who sacrifice for our safety and security.