Current Events in Education

15 Years after 9/11: Days of Infamy & Memory as History

This week was the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. It has been filled with people remembering where they were and what they saw on September 11, 2001.  This ritual will most likely repeat itself for many more years to come.  There is finally a memorial and a place where the event is commemorated in New York City – the footprints of the two World Trade Center Towers are stunning in their simplicity.

Like every one else who was an adult that day, I can recall every moment of fear and the distrust of my own eyes, and I can remember the feeling of surrealness that shrouded that day.  Most of my thoughts that day, however, were tied up with worry about into what kind of world I would be bringing my newly forming baby.  Two weeks before 9/11, I had learned I was pregnant and was still keeping the news close.  There I was, exchanging cautious joy for determined stamping out of irrational fear because for all I knew, we were about to enter World War III.  It was a scary day for everyone.

My son is now 14 years old.  He has no memories of September 11 and knows only the detachment of stories adults tell him of the Infamous Day.    He attended more anti-war marches than he was years old by the time he was six – his young life was surrounded by war.  His uncle (my little brother) was deployed 5 different times before my son turned 9 years old.
My son – and all our young students have never known a world where “terrorism” wasn’t an every day word.  They have had conversations about parts of the world, religions, terrorist attacks and other ideas that I cannot recall even knowing about when I was 14.  Like every American of their generation, their world is colored by an event they never experienced.

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