Students open time capsules at Sept. 11 commemoration

By Taylor Young

Kristina Milewski, Features Editor

Collecting dust for a decade, two metal boxes with signatures encasing the outside sat in the back of Museum Connections and Honors Archeology and Artifacts teacher Keil Hileman’s classroom. To preserve history, two Sept. 11 time capsules were created at Monticello Trails Middle School in late 2001. Almost 10 years later, on Thursday, Aug. 25, students from De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools opened the capsules, and history was exposed.

“It happened. We reacted. The students had the idea that we could do something with this moment, so we made a time capsule.” Hileman said.

Students, teachers, administrators, members of the National Guard and reporters from several different publications all crowded into the packed museum classroom to witness the time capsule opening.

“I just think it’s incredible that we’re letting students see a snapshot of this time,” director of administrative services and community relations Alvie Cater said.

Two students at each capsule took turns taking out pieces of history. Artifacts such as calendars, newspaper articles and magazines were passed around the classroom of 32 people.

“It’s so sad to think that human beings did this to other human beings,” MVHS junior Alexis Miller said.

Also at the Sept. 11 commemoration was Shirley Hemenway, former member of the kitchen staff at Monticello Trails Middle School, and her husband, Bob Hemenway. Shirley and Bob’s son, Ronald Hemenway, was killed while working at the Pentagon during the attacks.

“A lot of people get caught up in politics,” Bob Hemenway said. “But it’s so important to just have patriotism.”

Most of the artifacts from the time capsule had patriotic themes. Receipts had “God Bless America” written at the bottom, postage stamps had the American flag printed on them, and bumper stickers were red, white and blue. After the attacks, the U.S. had a patriotic attitude.

“There were some negatives in this situation, but there were also many positives,” Hileman said. “Afterwards there was hope.”

Juniors and seniors from Hileman’s Honors Archeology and Artifacts class participated in this historic event.

“The point of this is to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” MVHS junior Nick Francis said. “If everyone forgets, it could happen again.”

Students are now putting together another time capsule to show how things have changed and progressed. Ten years from now, they plan to have another commemoration ceremony.

“This [capsule] might pour gasoline on the fire and get people talking,” Hileman said. “It might get parents to talk to their kids about the time.”

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