Last weekend, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, many Americans sat glued to televisions and computers, reliving that horrible day when all of our lives changed on September 11, 2001. Fires smoldered and rescue efforts soon turned to recovery missions. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, but stories of heroism by everyday people on that fateful day have inspired our country to move forward and persevere.
Some positive outcomes of the tragedy are the many wonderful 9/11 scholarship programs that have been created to honor those who gave everything on that day. Families, companies and organizations have all come to the rescue of the children who lost parents or other family members that day. The 9/11 scholarship programs vary in scope and purpose, but all have the same intent: take something horrible and find the good in it. Here are just a few of the scholarships available to those affected by one of our nation’s greatest tragedies.
The New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship – Nearly 70 scholarships are awarded each year to students whose parents either (a) died in the 9/11 attacks, (b) are missing and/or presumed dead, or (c) have died as a result of illness caused by exposure from the attacks. Students may use the funds at any U.S. college.
New York State World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship – Available to students attending colleges in New York, students may receive up to $16,000 annually toward their college expenses. Applicants must be the children of parents who died or were permanently disabled as a result of the 9/11 tragedy.
Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation – The family of Michael Lynch, a firefighter with Ladder 32 who died in the World Trade Center, set up and continue to manage this foundation. Since 9/11, this foundation has awarded 96 scholarships valued at over $2.3 million to children whose parents either (a) were killed in the disaster, (b) work or worked as a New York firefighter, or (c) died in another natural/national disaster.
Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund – This organization has pledged to provide $100 million in college scholarships by the year 2030. Each year, they award approximately 150 scholarships, valued at $28,000 annually, to students who have lost parents or whose parents are permanently disabled because of the events on September 11, 2001.
Many more families and organizations have provided alumni scholarships and fundraising events to help students at colleges across the nation, helping the next generation of survivors to realize their dreams. What could have become an ongoing tragedy by creating financial barriers for those who lost a parent (or both parents), is now a mission for many to keep the memories of those lost alive through these wonderful scholarship programs. Thankfully, some hope and humanity have sprung from the ashes of 9/11.