September 11

SofLTTIn my 8th grade class we spent a little time today discussing the events of September 11, 2001, a day on which none of them were any older than 2.  I led off by asking what they knew, only to discover some of them had their facts wrong:  “Some terrorists blew up the Twin Towers.”  “A couple of terrorists crashed their planes into the Twin Towers.”  A few of them knew the correct story, and most of them knew that the Pentagon was hit and another plane “crashed somewhere else.”

As I described my experiences that day, I strove to get them to feel what I felt – the fear, the uncertainty, the disbelief.  They were attentive, listening closely and asking good questions throughout, and I could see understanding dawning in some of their faces, especially when I pointed out that we didn’t know for days – weeks, really – where the next target might be.  I also described for them the eeriness of having no airplanes fly overhead for three days, as well as the wave of patriotism that swept the country.

But I know they don’t really grasp the significance of “9/11,” nor how it turned the world upside down for most of us who experienced it.  It was the same when I was their age and my mom would try to tell me about December 7, 1941.  It wasn’t until the events of September 11 took place that I could fully understand what our country went through when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

It’s a little disappointing that I can’t make my students comprehend on an emotional level what that day was like for me, but I have to admit – my prayer is that they never find out from firsthand experience.

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2 Comments

  1. My niece, who is in 6th, posted on her instagram last night how moved she was by what her teacher shared, and how frustrated she was that none of her previous teachers had been as candid (which I take with a grain of salt, knowing how forgetful tweens can be). She was ready to hear it. The message was received, and one child, at least, is determined to honor the day.

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