I remember I was student teaching. I was in a 3rd-grade class. This was before facebook, twitter, text messages, Instagram etc. My class was at PE and a teacher came in and said the twin towers had a plane crash into them. What a tragedy we all thought. How horrible. We did have one computer in our classroom so I logged in and went to CNN. The screen before me was an awful sight. Flames. People in sheer panic. Utter chaos. Then the next plane hit and realized what it really was. An attack on American soil. Lack of communication was the worst part. We as teachers were in school with the children. What do we tell them? Do we tell them? Many go home to an empty house. Will they turn on their favorite cartoon this afternoon and be hit face on with a tragedy unfolding? All I wanted to do was go home and turn on the television. I wanted to find out the whole story. Getting bits and pieces was tough. School ended and I went home. My sister and I were glued to the television. Her two small kids playing in the other room completely careless. As the story unfolded we saw picture after picture of people fleeing. Of people in shock. Of heroes running towards the flames…some to not make it back out again. Channel after channel reporting. No afternoon programming. No evening programming. Only coverage. This lasted for weeks! Such a sense of need for family and community.
Fast forward 17 years. Here we are. As I log onto my computer this morning there is only a short bit on Yahoo. Images from 9/11 then and now. That is what it has come to. After thousands lost their lives. After so many families were forever changed. After a complete overhaul of airport security, this is what it has come to…a small bit on the news page.
Well, I won’t forget! As I had my first graders stand and say the pledge we took some extra time to remember this date 17 years ago. They may be small but they have the ability of compassion. I won’t forget the legacy of the heroes that carry on today in the faces of the new crew of firemen, first responders, and police. Why is this important? In the words of George Santayana (1863-1952), who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This type of tragedy was new to us at that time. However in our lives today our students, OUR KIDS, are faced with tragedy. Maybe, just maybe by remembering and learning from the past we can create a better future.
I will not forget!