Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Remembrance OF...

Once again 9/11 has passed us. I did not write about the events of that day on Friday. It was hard to get through my first period class after our wonderful tech person at school did such a wonderful video tribute. My students seemed to sense that after the video it took me a couple of minutes to find my voice to tell them that I needed a couple of minutes to regroup. I had sat in a classroom not unlike this one just 8 years earlier. The only difference was that I had 6th grade students my first period. I had turned my TV off after the first plane hit and was instructed by our principal to turn it back on and leave it on all day. The administrators walked the halls off and on all day to make sure they stayed on. I had the job of trying to explain to students what we were seeing and all the while trying to make the feel secure. Some were so distraught for so many reasons that we had to allow them to call parents to pick them up. I hated that I had to try to assure my students that everything would be okay when deep down I wasn't sure it would be.
My biggest problem eight years later is that so many of my students were so young. Most were in 1st grade and don't remember anything except what they might have seen on TV. The majority have seen replays of the video for the last few years. They have grown cold toward it. I overheard a student make the comment, "cool" while watching the footage of the planes hitting the towers and the massive explosion. These kids grew up in an era when all things violent and explosive on television is the norm. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from say to the student (in a loud and hateful voice), "Cool? Would you feel it was cool if that was your mom or dad on the plane or in that building?" I didn't say anything like that. I looked the kid in the eyes and said, "For the people who lost loved ones on the plane or in those buildings, they see nothing cool about the explosion. I know you didn't mean it that way, but remember there are always those around you who have strong emotional ties to the events of that day and you won't always know that until you say something like that and get their reaction." I impressed upon them to think about those events and remember them. As our future leaders they need to understand the reasons something like this could happen and thinks about ways they might be called upon in the future to prevent this from happening again. I have 20 computer disks full of pictures taken in New York ten months after 9/11 (We were there for a national dance competition our daughter was in). At least 15 of them are pictures taken of ground zero and surrounding buildings and memorials. On the day we visited ground zero for the last time sirens went off and an ambulance was called because they had found more bone fragments. The dedication and respect shown to those who lost their lives was overpowering. The dedication to retrieving anything no matter how small was awe inspiring. I have been haunted by the pictures and video footage of that day for years. Haunted enough I had written a book about three teens who find themselves in the Twin Towers on that fateful day. It is as yet still unpublished. However, the process of actually writing the book brought some closure to the haunting pictures in my mind. My sister-in-law lived not far from the Pentagon and said the explosion was so great that dishes fell from her cabinet. My husbands cousin waited for three days before he found out his daughter, who worked in the Pentagon, was okay. We all know someone, who knew someone, etc. I live in Sarasota, Florida. I remember President Bush being at one of our schools. I remember talking to one of my friends whos son-in-law (a senator) was with the president that day and how scared my friend's daughter was because the President and those with him were taken to an undisclosed place for a period of time for security reasons. We have much to be thankful for in this country. We need to remember all of those in other countries who helped us heal. We need never forget, yet we need to move on and lift up those who still have difficulty moving on. Let us teach our children about the events of that day and let them know that they are our future hope for preventing things like this.

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