When the Twin Towers fell September 11, 2001 I was student teaching in a local school, I wasn’t able to fully comprehend what happened until 7 hours later. We tried to shield the kids of the news and began discussions of how we were going to explain what had happened. Who doesn’t remember where they were?
My daughter was born September 2002; her accounts of the September 11 terrorist attacks will only be what she is told or researches. Ever since she has been little she has been curious as to the events of that day. We tell her all about our experience of September 11 and the days that followed. My daughter is part of the first groups of kids to learn about September 11 given that she was not alive at the time of this horrific event in our history.
As a parent I have struggled with sharing the magnitude of that day on all of America. It was a day everyone came together and realized America is not invincible. It was a day of American pride and despair all wrapped up in one. It was a day that ordinary people became American Heroes. It was a day of unity among Americans. As a parent I have handled the questions a few ways:
- Honesty-When my kids ask about the events of that day, I give them the truth. Bad people, terrorists, took planes and killed innocent people. Terrorists is becoming a very common word for our society.
- Media-When my kids have questions I cannot answer I turn to the internet. There are great resources/stories for kids/parents about the September 11 attacks.
- Discussion-I try to the best of my ability to answer their questions about the events.
My daughter, now almost 15, was lucky enough to go to New York this year. She was able to visit Ground Zero and she had these thoughts: “It is sad. The pictures of the people made it real. The audios of the families talking about their family members that were gone was very powerful. It was originally a major portion of New York’s business center with two buildings that ended up something completely different.”
Photos taken by Abby Friskopp, November 2016
History is such a huge part of our nation. I applaud my children for being curious about events that have happened. While I hope that my children don’t ever have to try to comprehend another such life changing event, I want them to know the unity of the nation.