September 9, 2011

9/11 Anniversary

Why do I feel as though everyone is going to write a blog about this? To answer my own question, because its probably true. I am not really sure where to begin this post because all my thoughts on this being the 10 year anniversary are rather conjumbled in my head.

I work at a before and after care program in addition to going to school and interning. With the anniversary fast approaching, it got me thinking about how most of the kids that I work with there were only 1ish when 9/11/01 happened. Even as I sat at internship today, most of the kids that I saw walk through the office were only 5-8. I started thinking about how I would want to talk to the kids about what happened. Odds are they were not old enough to remember (and in the case of my morning kids at my paying job, not even born yet). It was such a powerful event in my life and the lives of all my peers, that I don't know if I can accurately describe to them what happened without getting emotional myself. I suppose its the same for the generations that came before me. Pearl Harbor, Challenger explosion, Vietnam, JFK assassination, and many more. How did these people accurately teach us about what happened to them?

I am a firm believer in that narratives can be a very powerful learning tool. I know that many of the things that I remember from school and from life come from hearing someones story. I recently wrote a post about New Orleans. I was forever changed by that city in part because of all the stories people were so willing to share with me while I was down there. So powerful!

I guess like many people, I can recall exactly where I was standing when I first heard about 9/11/01. I was by the freshman hallway bathroom on my to my second period class, biology. I heard some upper class men talking about how a plane had just crashed into the world trade towers in NYC. I had no idea what the world trade towers were as a freshman in high school. Once I figured out what was going on, I was really scared. I remember the t.v.'s were on in almost every classroom those first few days, at home as well. We were all glued to the news. They even brought in t.v.s to the lunchroom so that we could watch then too. Later I found out that my mother almost came and got me from school because there was just so much unknown at that time. I had a friend that I was in colorguard with whose dad was traveling in the area of New York at the time. I remember so vividly the look of shear panic on her face as we entered the band room that day because she had no idea if her dad was on one of those planes. Luckily, she got a message during school that day that her dad was okay.

Okay so whats the take away in all of this? 9/11/01 was a tragic day in the history of the U.S. I think it was so profound because the safety we often take for granted was disrupted. We no longer felt all powerful and that was scary for many Americans. At the same time, I think 9/11 taught us a very valuable lesson. It brought us closer together. It taught us not to take our safety for granted. It taught us to love each other. It gave us sympathy and empathy for one another. It brought our nation together. I think this is the lesson that the kids need to be learning. From the young ones I hear a lot, "Well the Muslims did it, shouldn't we just get them back." The kids need to be taught that out of this tragic event comes things that are positive.

I think we as Americans should start claiming back 9/11. Now don't get me wrong here, I am not saying that we shouldn't commemorate the anniversary of this tragic event. But we should claim it to be a happy day. Do we put our lives on hold every time December 7th rolls around. I have heard of a couple that is having their wedding day on 9/11 this year. They want to reclaim the day as a happy time for their friends and family. I thought that this was a brilliant idea. So this 9/11, we should take some time to pay respects for that day. I challenge you then to do something fun with your day. Take time to do something that makes you smile. Take back 9/11.

Have a good weekend everybody.


P.S. ASCA (American School Counselor Association) has put up a great list of 9/11 resources for family and people in education. If you want to look at those, here is the link.

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