Like every other 9/11 in the past 11 years, I have talked with my middle school students about that terrible day. In 2001 I sat in my eighth grade classroom stunned, along with the young people in my midst.
This year, for the first time, I had students sitting in my classroom who were not born yet. /em>. This is unfathomable to me. For the first 7 or even 8 years after 9/11/01 happened, I could ask students what they remembered. They were sitting in class, then a few years ago they were being picked up from kindergarten, last year they were in diapers, and now some were in their mother's wombs or not even conceived.
While it is hard to believe that much time has passed, I saw again today the importance of teaching 12-14 year olds about 9/11. They are fascinated with it. and often they know only snippets about the day, and some of the more famous stories, names and folklore. They know the towers fell, the Pentagon was hit and that a plane went down in Pennsylvania at the hands of some heroes who fought back..
Each year, another teacher and I have them interview an adult. They ask questions like: Where were you when you heard about the attacks? Did anything positive come out of that day? Then we all share one answer in class. It is amazing how similar these adult's answers are from class to class and year to year. It makes sense, because we were all Americans, who faced the same fear, the same unknown and the closeness like never before.
May we never have to experience another day like that again.
For a great and inspiring video about this day, check out my blog post last year How Boats Rescued a Half Million People