PAA Remembers Sept. 11 Tragedy

November 01, 2002 | Natalie Crosby

Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) students, faculty, friends, and neighbors came together Sept. 11 to remember the many lives that were lost to terrorist attacks one year before.

Organized by Ann Axt, PAA director of development, and Linda Neel, director of music, the day was set aside to honor those who lost their lives and send a message of hope to the community, as the nation mourned.

To begin the program, a color guard posted the flag, to the sweet sounds of “Amazing Grace,” sung by Pearl Kim, PAA alumna from the Class of 2001. Chris Spellen, a PAA sophomore, then sang the National Anthem.

Guest speaker Marcia Hocker (wife of George Hocker, associate pastor at the Hood View Adventist Church) shared her first-hand experiences during and after the attacks. Hocker, a New Yorker, was visiting a sister in the city when the terrorists struck.

After Hocker’s presentation, representatives from each student, faculty, friends, and community group present planted cherry trees—a total of 14, which now line the PAA parking lot entrance.

In a moving conclusion, each participant took a helium-filled red, white, or blue balloon and simultaneously released them, symbolizing prayers ascending heavenward for those affected by last year’s tragedy.