Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 11 - We'll Never Forget

Today during mass a special prayer was said for those who perished on September 11th - what will be eleven years ago this Tuesday - and for those who survived.  I immediately remembered where I was on that horrible day.  I remembered how our school was actually on a two-hour delay that morning for something entirely unrelated. I remember realizing, while watching the news during a team meeting and waiting for our kiddos to walk through the doors, that they would know something terrible was happening.  I remember how what we thought was an unbelievably horrific accident slowly became something that none of us could wrap our heads around.  Being in upstate New York, many of our staff and our students have family members and friends working and/or living in the city...this was a day of numbing fear for all of us, but for many families in our community, it was personal.  The only thing we did know for certain was that our students would have questions - as we did - and I remembered how we struggled to compose ourselves and prepare.  In that one day, the world as we knew it...changed.  The world as we knew it...I remembered.

Then, while thinking of how I was affected by those sad events, I looked at my son.  He is five years old.  He looked up at me, eyes sparkling and smile beaming, and I was reminded that he doesn't remember.  He has absolutely no idea.  He has no concept of what "The World Post 9/11" means.  He doesn't remember the pure heartbreak that we felt as New Yorkers, as Americans, as human beings when we discovered the wide scope of the devastation as the day's tragedies continued. He doesn't have the recollection of the terrifying images that will forever be etched in my memory.  I am thankful for that.  Yet, like the students in most of our classrooms, he will need to eventually learn about that fateful day.

As we work on creating lessons for our students, we need to remember that many of the children in our classrooms most likely have very little, if any, memories of September 11th.  Our students will need help in understanding the sadness related to the day.  Perhaps even more importantly, they will also need to recognize and appreciate the incredible acts of heroism and expressions of love from all over the world that came about as a result.  It is those acts that, as a nation, I truly hope we never forget. Ensuring that doesn't happen can only start by teaching our future generations about it. Of course, therein lies the challenge!

In looking for resources, I came across a site that I would like to share.  The Ultimate Resource Guide to Teaching About September 11th was actually put together last year just prior to the 10th anniversary.  There's lots of dependable, informative resources to use in giving our students the needed frame of reference for activities and discussion.  In addition, what I really liked is that there are also lesson plans and ideas that move past the sadness and focus on heroism, survival and hope.  You will find ideas and lessons for all grade levels, but many are great for middle school!

Take some time to look around, and if you find something that is helpful in your planning, please think about leaving a comment below to share.

This blog post was written in response to the 5 Star Blog Challenge at  The Organized Classroom Blog. There are lots of other 5 Star Blogs that are linked-up, so visit her site! :)


  1. Thank you for putting the feelings felt about 9/11 into words we all can relate to.

    1. Thank you - surely a difficult day for everyone. That's what I really liked about the resource guide above. It has so much information, but it's organized in a way that is user-friendly and many links go to middle school appropriate resources that the kids can relate to as well.


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