Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflected for 9/11

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even think of breaking stride to discuss a lot about September 11th.  I’ve been so wrapped up in hitting objectives, staying on the calendar, and prepping using differentiated techniques that I lost perspective of the whole point of teaching the Social Sciences; to teach what has happened and learn from it.  So I stopped everything on Friday and taught the very abbreviated story of September 11, 2001.

I talked about the Soviet-Afghan war, Bin Laden’s rise to fame, the planning of the “Planes Operation”, the reasons Bin Laden used for the attack, and then the story of the day itself,  from the World Trade Center to the Pentagon to United Flight 93.  Then I discussed the aftermath; the chirping, “The Pile”, the line at the Armory, and how the world changed on that day.  Every period ended up being pretty powerful, and the first two times I tried to explain the families lining up at the Armory I had trouble maintaining complete composure.  Those memories are raw and rough. 

You’d be amazed at the number of students who didn’t know the “big deal” or haven’t seen the footage.  Many don’t know what’s behind Middle East anger or the past practices of Bin Laden and the Taliban.  Many don’t know that a lot of Muslims have died at the hands of Bin Laden, and that his crusade was a disgusting combination of sick egotistical zeal and a dislike of societal evolution.  Some cried, many thanked me, and I think everyone will have no problem that I stopped the class to discuss a very important day.

You should talk about September 11th with your kids.  But remember to also focus on those shining moments of true courage.  The passengers on United 93, the first responders and fire fighters at the World Trade Center, the men and women that ran into the fires of the Pentagon, and the many single souls that offered a hand to those in need on that fateful day.  The kids need to hear those stories too.  Because when the story is told down the road, their kids are going to have to remember that even the worst days hold moments of great humanity.     

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