Muncie teacher shares memories of former student killed on 9/11

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MUNCIE, Ind. – This weekend, Americans will mourn the loss of life on the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Nine Hoosiers were killed on that day. Gary Bright of Muncie died when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers.

Bright graduated from Southside High School where he swam and performed in several school plays. Teacher Dale Basham remembers Bright as a wonderful actor who had such much talent.

“Gary was very, very focused. He was very disciplined,” recalled Basham. “He was well dressed. He was polite. He was the kind of guy that everybody wanted to be around.”

He went on to IUPUI and then got his masters from Indiana State University. In 2001, just two weeks before 9/11, Bright took a job at the World Trade Center in New York. He was 36 years old.

“It seemed like time stood still for several days,” said Basham when he thinks back to learning one of his best students had been killed.

Fifteen years later, it doesn’t get easier for Basham. Especially when he considers how young and talented Bright truly was.

“I guess I’m reminded of the character that he played, Peter Van Daan, whose life was cut short because of Nazi atrocities and Nazi Germany. And little did I know when he played that role that his life too would be cut short way before his potential was realized,” he said.

There will be a remembrance ceremony for all the 9/11 victims this Sunday. It happens at the 9/11 Memorial site on 421 West Ohio Street at 3:30 pm. Everyone is welcome.

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