Most of us remember exactly what we were doing when we heard the news on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was still on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, working between two offices—one at the Pentagon, and one at Marine Corps Base Quantico. After finishing routine meetings at the Pentagon on 9/11, my “suitcase staff” (my Military Aide de Camp, civilian assistant and driver who accompanied me between my two offices) and I raced back to Quantico to catch a flight for Norfolk, Virginia. Arriving at the base, we found our flight canceled—and learned about the attack on the World Trade Center.
Moments later, we found ourselves gaping at the news that our Pentagon office had also been destroyed.
We lost friends in this tragedy. Thousands of Americans lost family members. How would our nation begin to heal?
Many charities, including Scholarship America, jumped into action, and millions of Americans offered support through volunteer efforts and financial contributions. Along with Lumina Foundation for Education, Scholarship America launched the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, to support financially needy dependents of those who died or were permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This Fund will provide postsecondary education scholarships to those dependents through the year 2030, when we estimate the youngest—those who were not yet born on 9/11—will finish their postsecondary education.
Through the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, Scholarship America does much more than pay tuition bills. We are able to free these families from a major financial concern. We are able to help them recover from their great loss, and to reassure generations of students that anything is still possible. We are able to ensure access to education, regardless of their situation. In short, we are able to help provide hope for a bright future.
It is with great humility and pride that I now lead an organization that is helping our nation heal through education. Thank you, on behalf of Scholarship America and the families we are helping, to everyone who has supported the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.
Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Major General, USMC (Retired)
President & CEO