Guest Speaker Tells His Story of 9/11


Keeping the Legacy of 9/11 Alive

This Fall 2019, seventh grade social studies classes at North Shore Middle School sat and listened attentively as guest speaker, Lieutenant Mike Ober, recalled his first-hand experience on September 11th, 2001. Lieutenant Ober was one of the youngest first responders assigned to the EMS Division 3 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were tragically attacked by the Al-Qaeda extremist group under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. At the time, Lieutenant Ober was an aid to the EMS Brooklyn Borough Commander, Walter Kowalczyk. In 2005, he became a firefighter assigned to ladder 124 and in 2016 was promoted to lieutenant and eventually assigned to L143 where he works now. His friend, North Shore Middle School Assistant Principal Brendan Nelson, stated, "Our 7th grade Social Studies team of Mr. Freund, Mrs. Larkin, and Mr. Gill continues to do an outstanding job of keeping the legacy of 9/11 alive for a generation that wasn't even born when it occurred. Having Lieutenant Ober speak to our students accomplished many of our district's goals, including the idea of finding real-life primary sources of history while also touching on themes of Social Emotional Learning, personal wellness, and empathy.” Mr. Nelson continued, “While our students can read and watch countless sources on 9/11, it is entirely more beneficial for them to hear directly from a first responder who witnessed the carnage and devastation of that day first-hand, and who can share with them the psychological and emotional toll that witnessing such trauma can have on human beings.” Students were allowed to ask questions and learn more about his experience on 9/11 during his detailed recollection of where he exactly was and what he was prepared to do on this tragic day. The story of Lieutenant Ober, and so many of the other first responders that lived through that tragic day, is one of bravery, courage, and recognizing the importance of asking for help when feelings and emotions start to feel as if they are too much for us to handle on our own,” said Mr. Nelson. “All who heard Lieutenant Ober speak could feel what he and his brothers were experiencing that day, and in the days, weeks, months, and years that followed. We are grateful to him for sharing his message with our students," concluded Mr. Nelson. We thank Lieutenant Mike Ober for his many years of service and bravery. Sharing your personal story about the events of 9/11 enabled our middle school students to gain a greater awareness and poignant first-hand account of that historic day. Something that they will undoubtedly always remember, as they get older.

Article written with assistance by North Shore Middle School Assistant Principal Brendan Nelson

Photos by Shelly Newman