Teaching Tragedy: 9/11 Fourteen Years Later

Teaching Tragedy: 9/11 Fourteen Years Later

Fourteen years ago today, America was shaken to its core when planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania.

It was a sunny day, much like today was at McNiel Junior High School in Wichita Falls.

Fourteen years ago today, students at McNiel weren't even born.

But today, that didn't matter. Today was a day full of accounts and reminders of that tragic Tuesday.

At practice, after their customary moment of silence, the 7th grade Mustangs heard a few military members talk about what 9/11 means to them.

"My dad said everyday he thinks about 9/11, and one day it may happen again," 7th grader Micah Montgomery said.

"I learned what it means to be a true American," teammate Ranse Radtke added.

And through movies, pictures, and stories, students are learning about the day that changed American life forever.

"I learned that there really are bad people in the world that want to hurt you," Sanchez said.

But as eighth grader Ryan Lawson pointed out, "That's not going to stop us from protecting everyone."

And some students, like Tryston Randall, had questions.

"I always wanted to know how people felt right when it happened," Randall explained. "I know what it feels like to be in shock, but it must have felt horrible to know that tons of people just died when the buildings collapsed."

History teacher Jeff Moore went over with his students why this is a day the nation will never forget.

"Planes were flying into buildings, people were jumping out of one hundred story buildings, it was horrible," Moore said. "But I ask my students, what do you remember, why do we remember and why is it important to remember these events?"

Moore said no matter what the event is in question, there is a generational gap in knowledge and emotion.

"You tell the kids that their parents were probably glued to the TV for days."

I shared my experience on September 11th with students today. I was a fourth grader at Visitation Academy, across the Hudson River in New Jersey.

At the time, you could see the World Trade Center from the top floor of my school.

On that day, if you looked out the window, all you could see was smoke.

I still remember hearing teachers screaming from the stairwells.
 
Today's students learn through accounts and documentaries.

No matter the method, the message remains the same: 
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"It only made America stronger, you know," Gabrielle Wilson said. "We were down for a while, but now we're back up, and we're not going to let it happen again."

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6