Teaching Sept. 11 to those who can't remember

TAYLOR MILL, Ky. – Wednesday’s history lesson at Scott High School focused on the date on the calendar – September 11.

“Do you see any affect of 9/11 today?” asked a teacher in front of her students.

The students who sat before her have little to no actual memory of the infamous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and over the skies of Pennsylvania that unfolded live on television.

Drew Flynn was just 5 years old at the time of the attack.

“I remember coming home from preschool, walking through my garage door and inside and seeing the TV turned on, and two towers filled with black smoke.”

Scott senior Rebecca Caldwell said she knows the facts of 9/11, but she still can’t wrap her head around one question – why?

“I still don’t fully understand it, no matter how much we talk about it, because it’s just something you don’t think would happen."

For Jonathan Moore, as an educator, the unique challenge of teaching Sept. 11 is that most classroom textbooks do not include a chapter or page on the day.

As someone who remembers the events of that day, he’s learned to just speak from the heart.

“When you can actually talk about your memories, and how you felt as opposed to how that historical figure felt, I think it brings a personal quality to the story and helps them to be able to relate to it, and then you can attach that personal feeling to other events.”

For Skyler Smith, a middle school student no older than this year’s 9/11 anniversary at the age of 12, emotions surrounding the day are what she is most concerned with.

“What was it like to see that first, or that second plane hit? Or even travel towards the two towers?” she wants to know.

And while answers may vary to questions asked by students like Skyler, educators agree on one thing – the importance of talking to children about 9/11.

“Everybody needs to know that there is a group called Al Qaeda, they hear it everyday on the news, and that they did do something really bad to us in 2001,” said Turkeyfoot Middle School Principal Deb Obermeyer.

“People lost their lives, innocent people," Moore added. "And that there are bad people out there in the world who feel okay about hurting innocence.”
 

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