They went to school today wearing red, white and blue.
My daughter chose her outfit purposely to feature our nation’s colors. I purposely put a red polo shirt under my son’s blue and white football T-shirt that he was permitted to wear for “Spirit Friday.”
My son doesn’t quite understand what happened 14 years ago this day in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He knows that lots of people got hurt. My daughter has known much about what occurred Sept. 11, 2001, since she was 8. That year marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks, and several documentaries were broadcast on TV. She watched one with her dad and we talked about it with her — on her level. Two years later when we went to NYC for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, we visited the FDNY Fire Zone near Rockefeller Plaza. It contained exhibits about New York firefighters and information about 9/11, including a framed photo of all 343 firefighters who died that day.
The elementary school that my daughter attended and my son now attends never mentioned much about 9/11 during the school day. This year in middle school, however, it became an assignment for Amber and her classmates in social studies.
The assignment: Interview a person about what happened Sept. 11, 2001. She chose me, and I provided plenty of thoughts and details. Among the questions:
Where were you? How did you find out about the tragedies? How did you feel? Did you know anyone who died or who was at the locations when things happened? What did our country’s leaders do in the days that followed? Have you visited Ground Zero, and if not, what do you think about rebuilding the World Trade Center towers? How have things changed in our country since the attacks, and finally, what does our country need to do to prevent another attack like 9/11?
It was actually impressive to see that the social studies instructor issued such an assignment. It’s living history. What better way for students to learn major events that affected our nation than to talk to those who witnessed it, whether that be in our nation’s capital, in the Big Apple or by just watching television, reading newspapers and exploring the Internet? The stories that the students hear will be stories that they, too, can pass down for generations to come.