Students Remembering 9/11

Laurel Correa, Staff Writer

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On September 11, 2001, a new school year had only just begun for the students in Pennsylvania. That morning, as the class went on, teachers were suddenly directed to turn to the television. And there it was; the world trade center had been hit by a plane.

As the TV’s switched on in front of the rooms, students listened to the announcers try to make sense of what had happened, only to then see the second plane hit. At the first sight of the towers, many were in such disbelief at the image because “watching everything burn didn’t seem much different from a TV action movie.” Soon, however, the events of that day became very real.

In the end, a total of 4 planes crashed, thus becoming the worldwide event known as “9/11,” the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

Four weeks after 9/11, people claimed you could still see smoke rising from the destruction. On top of this, several thousand people had been walking around the site, yet there was total silence.

Students in 2001 had an important opportunity, in which, they got to come closer to understanding the significance of the biggest historical event of their lifetimes.

As time went on in the next years after the event, “groups of kids were given opportunities to visit the site where it all happened, however, few wanted to go. The rest of them hung out or went shopping,” claimed a teacher living in Pennsylvania. This shows, for teenagers, the urgency of the present can drown out any desire to really understand the past.

How do students, or any of us for that matter, remember, absorb and see the importance of our national history? This is something the events of 9/11 has forced several teachers and parents alike to think about.

Here at Seward High School, students were asked, “How does the memory of 9/11 stay alive in your mind?” A variety of responses were given, such as claiming to read poems, articles, and books, as well as news stories from then and now. They watch films of the past through various history classes. For example, one student claimed to have watched a film that “really seemed to bring home the horror of that day.”

“When I was younger I remember reading profiles of people who had died on 9/11,” a senior claimed.

To continue, students were also asked a similar question: “How do you remember the event of 9/11?” Few explained what happened during that time. Many spoke with emotion of anger, sadness, or had that far away looks in their eyes as if they were imagining it like they had experienced it themselves.

With hostility, one student directed his emotions towards the terrorist organization responsible. Another student said, “It was a very sad day for thousands of people. It was a terrible thing that shouldn’t have happened.”

The students who personally experienced that day are now much older; the students of now continue to learn; and teachers, students and even parents alike feel the one time period they know well is the day of September 11, 2001.