Las Vegas school remembers teacher lost to 9/11 attacks

Updated September 11, 2018 - 9:51 pm

For the last 17 years, Gail Fahy’s birthday on Sept. 11 has been cloaked with painful memories.

Fahy, a retired foreign language department chair at Palo Verde High School, flipped on the news on that day in 2001 and heard about the terrorist attacks unfolding in New York and Washington.

Her thoughts immediately turned to Barbara Edwards, a fellow foreign language teacher at the school and a close friend.

She knew Edwards — who was on medical leave from the district after the two of them had gotten into a car accident the previous year and Edwards broke her arm — was planning to fly back to Las Vegas that day after visiting family on the East Coast. The reason she was hurrying back was because she didn’t want to miss Fahy’s birthday.

She didn’t make that birthday or any since. Edwards was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, that morning, killing all 64 people on board and 125 others on the ground.

Despite the intervening years, Fahy said she holds her friend’s memory close.

“She was fiesty. I’m sure she gave them (the terrorists) a piece of her mind on that flight,” Fahy said Tuesday, standing next to a memorial for Edwards at Palo Verde.

‘We are living history’

In a ceremony Tuesday morning, Fahy was presented with a retired American flag that had been waving over the memorial since March. The ceremony featured the school’s JROTC students, its choir and a rendition of taps by a member of the band.

“We want these kids to know we are living history every day,” said Fahy, who retired from Palo Verde in 2015. She declined to give her age Tuesday, saying only that she was “old enough.”

While Fahy may be old enough, students across Clark County are too young to remember what happened on 9/11 when hijacked planes crashed into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in New York and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Nine-year-old Savannah Terasa and her classmates at Neal STEAM Academy know about the terror attacks from what they have learned in school or been told by their parents.

While none of the students experienced the national tragedy firsthand, Savannah said she knows it was a sad day in which many people lost their lives.

But she and her classmates have a better understanding after a presentation Tuesday morning in which Principal Denise Murray explained the importance of the event to a post-9/11 generation.

“Boys and girls, you are a part of history,” Murray said. “Always study history and learn about America and the heroism and bravery that made our country a place of freedom and democracy.”

Every year, Murray has been sharing her own connection to 9/11 with students. Her husband is a retired lieutenant from the New York Port Authority Police Department.

The couple lost 37 friends that day who worked in the department and responded to the attacks.

Lesson of ‘terrible tragedy’

“Teachers and parents, you play an important role in making sure the children learn the right lesson from this terrible tragedy and that your children know the difference between right and wrong,” Murray said, standing next to a plaque commemorating the 37 officers.

The school ceremonies were just two of a few held around the Las Vegas Valley to commemorate the lives lost.

Every Las Vegas Fire Department station held a bell ringing tribute at 6:45 a.m., department spokesman Tim Szymanski said. At Station 5, a flag that once flew over the World Trade Center was raised to half-staff over a piece of steel from the buildings that is always on display at Station 5.

Retired New York City firefighter Frank Pizarro, who was in a parking garage near the base of the trade center and survived the second tower collapse, sang the national anthem.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter. Contact Meghin Delaney at or 702-383-0281. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Blake Apgar contributed to this report.

NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like