“What Happened on September 11? I Honestly Don’t Know.”

Statue of Liberty September 11, 2001- By Lou Scotigna (2013)

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

What happened on that day?
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 the al-Qaeda terrorist network successfully executed attacks against the United States using four commercial airplanes. The airplanes were used as missiles to commit suicide bombings on several key buildings in the US. The most damage was done in New York as they completely destroyed the twin towers at the World Trade center. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. The death toll increased even after the initial attacks, as additional people died of cancer and respiratory diseases related to the debris from the destroyed buildings in the months and years following the attacks.

Where were you during 911?
For some, they were wrapping up the third period of seventh grade science class. Others were starting out their morning working at the office when they received “the call.” Still others were starting a routine day on their college campus. But for others, they have no recollection of the events, because they were not even born yet.

Lived Experience or Recent History
These events are for some people a lived experience in recent history and for others a historical event that they read about in history textbooks or learn of the events on an online resource. Many people across the US did not live through the events we know today as 911. Lauren Camera has written an article to this effect in USA Today entitled How to Teach 9/11 to Students With No Memory of It. Because we are in a time period where there are more and more people that do not have a vivid memory or lived experience of that time period, there will be more and more people who honestly do not know what happened unless they are taught information about 911. One of the important aspects of the field of history is that it reminds society of significant past events (Good and bad), events that had such an impact on people’s lives at the time that it would be a travesty for people to forget. September 11 is one of those events in history, that as long as the world exists, we should always remember.   

Conclusion
For many, it is obvious why we should remember and continue to make it a part of the collective memory of the United States (Much like the American Civil War or World War II). But a number of today’s young people may sincerely not understand why it is so important. That is why a good social studies education is so essential today, indeed the job of the classroom teacher is evermore critical. In many cases, the first time students will hear about September 11 is from their social studies teacher. Below I have provided lesson plans and resources that teachers can use to teach students about 911 and even get the conversation started.  

Lesson Plans and Teacher Resources

Lesson Plans
Lesson Plans- 911 Memorial Museum
Middle School Lesson Plans- 911 Museum
9/11 Lesson Plans- National Education Association (NEA)
9/11 Lesson Plans- Scholastic
9/11 Classroom Activities- Newsweek
9/11 Lesson Plans- Teacher Planet
9/11 Lessons- Education World
9/11 Lessons- Tomorrow Together
9/11 Lesson- Teach Hub.com
9/11 Anniversary Teaching Guide- Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Footage/News Clips
Remembering 9/11: Watch Today Show’s live broadcast of Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001
9/11 FOIA Videos: Street-Level Footage, Aerial Shots (Viewer Warning)
Second Plane Hits South Tower
Remembering 9/11 | Archive Footage We Will Never Forget

Articles
Photos: Remembering those lost on 9/11
The Names on the Memorial
How to Teach 9/11 to Students With No Memory of It
The 9/11 Anniversary in the Classroom- PBS News Hour
While America Slept: The True Story of 9/11

References
September 11 Attacks- The History Channel
September 11 Attacks- Encyclopedia Britannica
History of the 9/11 Attacks

Discussion Questions
1. Where were you on September 11, 2001 when the terrorist attacks occurred?
2. Why do you think important events are often so quickly forgotten?
3. View some of the resources provided above (Articles, footage, news reports, images). What thoughts and emotions come to mind as you examine the material?
4. What are creative ways teachers might begin discussion about 911? For those currently teaching in the classroom, what are lessons or activities you have tried that have been effective in teaching about September 11? 

61 Comments

  1. I was just a baby when 9/11 happened so I can’t say that I do remember that day. However, I remember what my mom has told me about that day and how everyone at my daycare had every tv on, watching what was happening. I guess I never really thought about what people who weren’t even born for 9/11 will think about it. I think that ever since I can remember, it has been a big deal so I don’t know any different. We need to keep educating our kids on what happened that day because it is something that should never be forgotten.

    • “What Happened on September 11? I Honestly Don’t Know.”This article grabbed my attention because of the tragedy that happened on September 11, 2019. I was aware of the 2,996 people that died that day, but I was unaware of the many that died months and years after it due to the debris. When it happened, I was probably getting ready for PM Kindergarten, but I do not fully remember. Obviously when I have a classroom, my students would not have been alive during 9/11, but since it is a large piece of unfortunate history, they will learn about it. The lesson I would use to help them understand the significance and emotions behind it would be, “A Lens Into 9/11”. Using photography is a great way to introduce such a heavy topic to elementary students. We could have a class discussion on a photo of an audience watching the buildings burn, talking about their facial expressions and asking what the students think they are feeling, what would they be feeling like if they were in this picture? This lesson covers a wide range of standards and would be more engaging for students than simply just talking about 9/11.

  2. I thought a lot about this topic especially since yesterday was 9/11. I was actually in the schools as well so I got to see first hand how students in the schools are not getting the information about this event like they should. Some classrooms showed videos and some classrooms barely covered the topic. This is shocking to me because when I thought that students were getting the full information about the events that occurred on that day. But that is not the case. As future teachers we need to make sure that our youth do know the effects of these events as well as what happened to our world after. Teaching our students this content can help them understand how our world has become the way it is today.

  3. Although I was born during the 9/11 attacks, I was only three years old at the time. So, I don’t remember this day very vividly, at all. I know I was at my babysitters house, and they watched the events unfold like every other American across the country. Time stood still. Since, 9/11 effected all Americans it should be nationally recognized by all school systems. This event needs to be taught to students, so they understand what being “united” truly means. After these attacks, America truly was one nation, standing together to defend our country.

  4. September 11th, 18 years ago I was in the third grade. I remember that we were sitting in class and the teachers started to talk to one another. I remember them wheeling in the tv’s, turning off the lights, and putting on the news that covered that tragic day. Everyone was quiet teachers were crying, I was 8 so I don’t think I fully understood what was happening, just that I knew I should be sad by the reactions my teachers were having. I think what I remember most though was the next year. My mom and I had traveled to New Mexico and we were sitting in our hotel room, the tv was on and what was playing was a memorial to September 11th the previous year. My mom was crying, I had never seen her cry before let alone seen her sob, I started crying as well and I think that’s when I had a better sense of how tragic that day really was.
    It is crazy for me to think that there are people who don’t remember that day, or that there were people who weren’t even alive when it happened. I hope that they know how we as a country came together, despite what political they identified with, and we mourned the loss of all those people. I hope that one day when I teach my future students about September 11th that I give that day, and the people we remember, its justice because it is an extremely important part of our country’s history.

  5. When September 11 happened, I was only a baby not even two years of age. So I have absolutely no memory of it happening. However I do remember learning about it for the first time. I was in the fourth grade, and I remember discussing it in class but not really understanding it. So that night I went home and watched one of the many documentaries on it. I remember feeling confused on why someone would do something like that. That same night I talked to my parents and they shared their story of where they were and how it affected them. This event in history is something we need to continue to educate children with, although it is such a scary topic to talk about. This event changed life in the United States and that is important for young people to understand.

  6. Eighteen years ago on 9/11 I was at Blizzard Beach, a water park at Disney World with my mom, dad, and grandparents. I was almost three, so I do not remember the experience, but am now aware of the panic that spread across the United States. My mom has told me the events of 9/11 and what took place that day at Disney World. The day of 9/11 was one of the very few days Disney World parks have closed ENTIRELY. There was a panicked suspicion that Disney World, along with other majorly-populated locations across the United States, would be targeted next. People were evacuating the water park, wet and scared. Employees were handing out return tickets to access the waterpark on another day for free, which has also rarely been done. Everyone headed back to their hotels, or home, if they could, to watch the news and call their loved ones. As we sped back to the hotel, a line of hotel doors were propped open, with the sound of the same news station turned up as loud as possible. All parks closed, but all dining-related activities were not. It just so happened the dining reservation we had scheduled that night was called “Mickey’s Backyard BBQ,” which was entirely American-themed. There was singing, dancing, and food, which was USA-themed with red white and blue everything. The kids just wanted to see Mickey and Minnie while the adults saw the eerie connection to the tragedy that took place. We were supposed to fly home to Kentucky in just two days, which was terrifying. My mother told me that the entire plan ride was silent. Since I was little, I do not have a memory of this day, but from the stories I have heard, I cannot imagine the panic that spread across every American in the United States. Was this a declaration of war? Will other landmarks be targeted? What does this mean? Is my family safe? It is an eerie feeling being alive on such a heartbreaking day, and an even crazier thought that the next generation will not have experienced this day personally. It is important that this day is not forgotten and is taught in every classroom in the United States.

  7. On September 11th 2001, I was in the safe surroundings of my preschool classroom. The daycare I attended had basic cable and we could only watch local news channels. A message came across the walkie talkies that the teachers had that it was urgent that the tv be turned on. To everyones surprise we were watching the making of what is now known as a US tragedy that would forever change the Course of how America would work. I do not remember watching it on tv because I was only 4 years old. The only memory I have of that day is my mom running downstairs (she worked there) with tears in her eyes to grab me and my best friend and just hug us and not let go. As I grew older and learned about that day each year it became very clear just how important that day was to not only those effected in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania but all of us as Americans. When I was a Senior in high school I had the opportunity to visit New York City on a class trip. The one thing that I wanted to do while we were there was to visit the site of ground zero and the memorials that are now they’re in place making sure that we remember what that day was about. If you’re not familiar with the memorials that are there, they are two big “pools” that have a ledge lined around with all the names of the people whom died on that day. The very first name I read on that ledge was a woman named Angela and next to her name in parenthesis were the words “and her unborn child”. I did not know this woman nor would I ever know who she was but when I say a whole new level of sadness came over my body in that moment, it was something I wish to never experience again.
    I feel that as an educator it is important to teach about this day because not only is it history but it something that happened while most teachers now a days were alive for. It is also one of the first events that had happened within the United States Borders in a very long time. To teach this lesson for all grades I would begin the lesson by playing the national anthem and showing a slide show of all things patriotic, ending the slide show with a picture of what was the Twin Towers, asking the students about the picture. I would then switch to a picture of New York with no Twin Towers and ask them what they notice is different. As I teach the lesson I know personally I would have to try my best not to cry because although I do not really remember that day, I know the panic it brought and seeing that memorial is something that will stick with me for life. I want modern day students to understand that though it happened before they were born, it was very real and something that changed the way we live our lives dramatically.

  8. I do not recall where I was on September 11th, 2001. However, growing up around people who do remember, I’ve been able to collect many stories about that day and how impactful it was for others. One thing that really amazes me, is that in today’s world, we have an older generation that remember the day very vividly, and younger children who were not yet born, that just think of it as a distant point in history. After 9/11, many changes were put in place, safety wise, to prevent something like this ever happening again. For the older generation, this was shocking to see. Although the changes were for the best of the country, they were still something new that people had to get used to. Nowadays, children that are growing up, see these things as normal because they don’t know how it was before that day. I think it would be interesting for students to do some research about security in our country before and after the attacks and compare and contrast the two. This could be a very enlightening conversation about the importance of our safety on a national level, and we could even have discussion about the importance of safety on a local level.

  9. On September 11, 2001 i was only one years old so i have no recollection of what actually happened that day I’ve only heard stories. So i did what most did when they weren’t old enough to remember what happened, i asked my mom. She told me that we had just moved to Kentucky and we were at my grandparents house, she said she had just come from the bathroom and when she walked into the living room the tv had the first tower on fire and she thought they were watching a tv show so she asked what they were watching but then my grandpa told her that it was real time live tv and very shortly after the second plane hit. She said all the could do is sit there in shock of what was going on, her initial reaction she said was like most “what the fuck”. Though i don’t remember that day i was taught growing up in school how that day altered so many lives and mind sets, along many federal laws. Back in January 2017 i had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum, it was a very eye opening experience, seeing the walls and walls filled of pictures of those who lost their lives that day. Reading the stories of those who were in close proximity of the towers when they went down. In the museum there is a wall of the different shades of the sky that people saw that day with a quote from a famous roman poet Virgil “No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time”. Though there are so many different shades, the day was the same and the devastation from this tragedy will never go away for those who survived and have to live with that day imprinted in their memory. After this day many things changed within our nation as a whole for example, laws were made,new security precautions in airports, evacuation routes for office building’s, etc. It was a very tragic day in US history and even for those who weren’t effected directly or even born yet are affected by this day and it probably wont change.

  10. I do not remember 9/11 happening since I was just 1 years old. My mom told me I was getting speech therapy and my therapist had a daughter on a flight to New York. They were all so terrified and kept their eyes glued on the news. I think that learning about this horrific day is so important to our US history. It should forever be taught in schools. I vividly remember talking about it in 4th-6th grade and watching videos on it. It gave me a deeper understanding of it and why we must remember those who fought so bravely for us that day. This day is one that should always be talked about in schools across the country.

  11. I was in school at this time but still pretty young. I mainly just remember the assistant teacher coming in and whispering something to our teacher. She ran over and turned on the TV and after a few minutes turned it away from the class and muted it, not allowing us to see. I really had no idea what was happening until I got home later that night and was eating dinner with the family when my parents told us. Overall my school was calm in this frightening situation and quite a few students were picked up.

  12. I was four years old on September 11th, 2001. I do not remember the event or where I was. In my education so far, I honestly do not remember being taught about 9/11. I was always in choir and I’ve sung in memorials about the event every year, and some years my school showed a video, but I was never taught about the event by a social studies teacher. Some years my school didn’t even talk about the event at all, they just had a moment of silence during the announcements. This being said, I have recently discovered that I didn’t even fully understand what happened. Until recently, I didn’t realize the planes were commercial airlines full of passengers. I thought the only people on the planes were the terrorists. I also didn’t realize other buildings were hit, I only knew about the twin towers. I have been seeing several posts this year on social media written by young people who don’t understand the importance of that day or why we recognize it still. If history isn’t taught, it is more likely to be repeated. 9/11 was one of the first times many people realised that attacks on America were even possible. It is very clear that young Americans do not understand this event today, and it is so important that they do. I hope more teachers will be inspired to talk about the event in class so more young people can understand it and it’s significance.

  13. Although I was alive during the 9/11 attacks, I was only 3 and therefor can’t possibly know anything other than what was taught/told to me. This is something truly terrifying, and hope we would never have to experience it again. We need to make sure we inform people and help them prepare for it, because in reality it could happen again. Educators should not hide when things like this are happening, it should be used as a moment for learning.

  14. When the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11th of 2001 I was at home with my father. Since I was too young to remember the events of that day, I gain my understanding from articles and perspectives from my parents. The emotions and thoughts that come to my mind after reading and hearing those perspectives are heartbreak and shock. I still cannot wrap my mind around the events of that monumental day. I don’t understand how people can be so evil to commit something so awful. I think that’s why important events are so easily forgotten… nobody wants to remember terrible things of the past. As unpleasant as remembering is, it is still important to reflect on the past so we can shape the future into something greater. Some creative ways teachers might begin a discussion about 911 in the classroom are to get the students to think about other monumental moments in their life and try to relate to the students how impactful 911 was to the people of the United States during that time. I think a discussion about how our country overcame that time would be a great way to encourage students that there is hope even after a time of trouble and terror.

  15. September 11th, 2001 should be a date everyone should remember forever. That day was a great loss and a deep tragic for America. It is a day that made the country stand still and put a great fear into all of us. It is very important for each generation to keep educating the next about this day because the people we lost from that day should never be forgotten. Though it was an attack on America in an attempt to divide, I feel as the country came together stronger than ever. It feels as that was the only time where everyone set there differences aside and truly united. Even if it is not required to teach in our elementary schools our children still deserve to learn what happened. We lost a lot of brave and innocent people that day and it is up to us to keep educating the future about it. 

  16. This discussion definitely hit home for me because at the time of 9/11 I was only barely two years old which was definitely too young to discuss or even remember it happening. A similar issue arises when considering that I am not the only person who this topic had to be explained to. Pretty much every generation after my own will have to learn about 9/11 rather than having experienced that day and feeling all the emotions associated with it. So how can you convert those emotions to students in order for them to understand the impact of that day? I think one of the best ways that this can be taught is through the use of all different forms of education tools such as videos. It’s crazy to think that history from the 1950s and onward can be taught with videos of the instances actually taking place. One that I think encompasses all of the emotions associated with 9/11 is the video recorder recording one of the towers falling capturing the surrounding people’s reactions along with the billowing ash that engulfs the streets causing the cameraman to crawl under a car while recording and breath through his shirt in order to prevent suffocation. In short 9/11 will be a difficult topic to teach but I think the tools are there to relay these emotions associated with 9/11 to students.

  17. When 9/11 happened, I was only 4 years on therefore I don’t remember anything about that day. I think events are quickly forgotten because if you were not on the “scene” or somehow some way affected by it we tend to forget while others remember. Watching the “Second Plane Hits South Tower” was very disturbing watching the smoke from the towers fill the surrounds air with black smoke makes you feel helpless to everyone in those buildings who are in flight or fright. I think it is a good idea for us to keep educating about 9/11 because as people have said history repeats itself and I do not want to live through such a horrific scene.

  18. I was two when the attacks occurred, so I have no viable memory of the day. But my mom told me that when she found out, she took me out of daycare and sat at home with me while she cried. My mom is not an overly dramatic person, but that day she genuinely thought the world was going to end.
    I feel that we, as Americans, tend to forget a lot about important events because we view them as independent from us. Granted, this is a generalization and I understand that this is not the same for everybody. Like Sensoy discussed, a huge part of our culture is individualism. We all have our own lives that we put as top priority. When bad things (or even good things) happen that do not directly affect us, they are not prioritized. Take the recent mass shootings for example, while the internet was full of concern for gun laws and the victims when they happened, nobody is talking about it now.

  19. I was three when 911 happened. My mom just dropped me off at preschool. My parents remember exactly what happened that day. And I used to think I could remember too but honestly, I can’t. I don’t remember my mom picking me up early from school and I don’t remember my teachers’ reactions. I think it will be harder for students to understand the importance of the event when it happened before they were alive or could remember.

  20. Even though i was only a child when 9/11 occurred, i still feel somewhat connected. This mass killing happened in my lifetime, and it forever changed the way anyone would live, travel, and speak in this country. The most important thing to remember about 9/11 is the way the country picked itself up afterwards. This nation came together as one and offered love and support to complete strangers. Neighbors checked on neighbors, strangers helped strangers, people from all different backgrounds took a stand and helped one another. As someone who came of age when the comradeship has all but disappeared, remembering this support gives me hope. If we can do it once, we can do it again.

    **Note: i am in no ways excusing/overlooking the treatment of American citizens who were percieved as muslims. What happened, happened and can not be changed. I do, however, still think this is convincing evidence that the entire nation can come together no matter race/sex/class.

  21. I was alive for 9/11 but I do not remember it, I was almost two when it happened, and my mom told me about where we were when we heard about it. My mom still talks about the moment that all of America stood still and watched as history was changed forever. I am a part of one of the last classes where we were alive during 9/11. It’s crazy to me to think about when I become a teacher and the students will know little to none about 9/11.

  22. I have no memory of where I was when 911 occurred. My father swears I was at the park when he got “the call.” I do not think teachers today do a good job of teaching 911. It is something that teachers are afraid to talk about. I will say I had an amazing social studies teacher my senior year. He taught through current events for the most part, but when September rolled around we spent a significant amount of time studying 911. We watched documentaries and read many articles related. We were given the history of 911 in an unbiased way; we were strictly given the facts. I have observed a couple of classrooms in the past 2 years around 911, and neither class or school mentioned it once. I think this topic should be discussed before students are in high school. It might not be an in depth lesson for a Kindergarten class, but we can talk about how it is a day of remembrance.

  23. 18 years ago on September 11th I was just three years old, I was in the hospital waiting room with my great grandparents because my mom had just gone into labor with my little brother. I remember everyone was so quiet just watching the tvs and crying. I was just so confused and had no clue what was going on. I remember when I was in elementary, middle and high school we would always have talks about it on September 11th. I think it is a very difficult thing to talk about especially for those who lived through it, but I think we should keep students informed about it. I think for elementary school students it should be more basic information about it, but once they get to middle and high school it should be a more in-depth discussion.

  24. As many know, 9/11 was a tragic day for many people and our country as a whole. I was just a little baby at the time so I don’t remember the attacks happening but growing up i would always hear from my parents and in my middle school they had videos being played on 9/11 in remembrance of the tragedy. I believe this is something that changed our country as a whole including airport safety and rules/regulations. It is definitely a topic that needs to be talked about and remembered for those who lost their lives and to those who risked theirs to save others.

  25. I was five years old and in Kindergarten when 9/11 happened. My mom worked nights so I was in the afternoon Kindergarten class, that way she was able to sleep late. By the time I woke up it was already known that we were under attack. I remember sitting in front of the television playing with my barbie dolls while the events were broadcasted live. In the weeks and months following 9/11 I learned more information about 9/11. My parents had to explain it to me because I had two family members who left to fight in the war. At the age of five I was able to comprehend that bad guys took over an airplane that people were flying on to go to or from a vacation and flew them into important places in the United States in order to hurt a lot of people. I was able to understand that my cousins were going to stop the bad guys so that this would not happen again.

    Children at young ages are able to comprehend many things if you explain it to them in a way that they will understand. As a teacher, you just have to know your audience so you know how you should talk about the subject. Every year when 9/11 comes around, video clips, news articles, survivors stories, everything you can possibly think of resurfaces on the internet. I was too young to know what went on when it happened, but I have seen and read so much about it sense then that now I do. I do believe 9/11 needs to be talked about in schools, but for the time being I don’t think that it will be the only way kids who weren’t born at the time will hear about it. Every year they will hear their parents and grandparents talk about what they remember from September 11th, 2001. When they are old enough, every year they will see videos, read the news articles, and read survivor stories. As long as there is a majority of this world who remembers 9/11, the kids that we teach will too, even if they were not there.

  26. When 9/11 occurred I was only a year old so I do not remember anything but my mom has told me a lot about the day. I do, however, remember when I was a freshman in high school and my school held a moment of silence on 9/11. I was sitting in my science class and I remember my teacher Mr. Bootes began to tear up. After the moment of silence he explained to us that his uncle had been one of the people who was killed by the attack on the twin towers. Hearing this from someone I knew made it all more real for me. I have always understood the severity and importance of the day and the attacks that occurred but after that day I have always had stronger feelings about what happened.

  27. I was only one years old when the terrorist attacks occurred so I don’t remember where exactly I was. I think important events are often forgotten about so quickly because people fail to realize that history will one day repeat itself. When I examine images and news reports regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I feel a sense of sorrow. It saddens me to see how hateful the world can be. One creative way teachers could begin a discussion about 9/11 is to simply say 9/11 and ask what thoughts come to mind. This way teachers could see whether 9/11 is still a topic of discussion or not.

  28. When I was in 1st grade, my teacher turned the tv on. She never turned the TV on. I was sitting at a table in a red trailer outside my school, where my 1st grade classroom was. It was hot, and I could feel the sweat dripping down the back of my short bob. I turned my attention to the TV. It was in the corner of the room on a TV rack that hung from the wall. I saw a building colipase. There was dust flying across the screen. I thought it was odd that my teacher was playing such a violent movie in my classroom. When I got home that day my parents told me something bad had happened. It wasn’t until I was a freshman and watching the movie United 93 was I aware of what I had witnessed. To me that day was the day my teacher finally turned the TV on. It comes to no surprise to me that this is just another historical event to my future students, because it is a historical event, I have vague memories about. I did not have the fear that people that were old enough to comprehend had. When I make lesson plans regarding 9/11, I need to think about what I would have wanted to know about, had people told me the importance of it. When going through the lesson plans on the 911 memorial website I was particularly moved by students comparing and contrasting the New York Skyline, with and without the twin towers.

  29. I was only 3 years old when the 9/11 events happened. I obviously dont remember it, but my parents to this day still vividly remember where they were and what they were doing when it happened. They have always taught me and my siblings about what happened on 9/11 teaching me the importance of remembering this event. I was in a school for 9/11 last week and I saw how little they talk about this day. As a future teacher, I will be teaching my students about 9/11 as well as the importance of remembering this day, because this was a tragic day not just for some but our whole country.

  30. I was 5 years old and in kindergarten the day of the 9/11 attacks. At the time, I was too young to comprehend what was happening or the severity of the events, but I do remember the teachers being very distraught and upset. While I was alive and have few memories of the attacks, today’s children just simply don’t understand the impact that these attacks had on the United States.In my placement last week, on 9/11, the morning announcements had a moment of silence in memory of those attacks. My third graders were very confused and had no idea what we were doing. Once my teacher explained, and told them of 9/11 they still seemed like they didn’t understand and one even responded with “well my grandpa is in the army”. It’s truly eye-opening how 9/11 impacted so many, yet it is not nearly discussed enough as it should be in schools.

  31. I don’t remember the day of the attacks themselves; I was only 4 years old and was too young to understand. I think important events are so often quickly forgotten because it was a horrific and bad thing that happened. People don’t like to think about the bad things, they want to forget and move on with their lives. The article with the photos brings a strong sense of loss, seeing all the people that are no longer with us. I think the footage where the second plane hits the South Tower can help convey the gravity of the situation, because when the first one hit people just thought it could’ve been an accident. Hearing the panic in the public’s voices really puts it into perspective. A creative way teachers might begin a discussion about 911 would just be showing pictures of ground 0 and asking the students if they know what they’re looking at and what it could be for. I think that is a good way to introduce the students to this topic.

  32. I was only in Kindergarten on September 11, 2001. I vaguely remember everything that happened to me that day. What I do remember is everything just stopping and my teacher turning the classroom T.V. onto the news and seeing the buildings. The entire class was picked up by their parents soon after. When I got home my parents tried to explain to my sister and I what just happened, but we were only 5 and 6 years old so it was hard for them to do. I think important events like this one are so quickly forgotten because there are so many people who weren’t even born yet. They didn’t live in that time of fear. It’s also not brought up in school as much as it was before. It was a tragic event that changed America; students should still be learning about it today. I think by reading some of the articles to students and showing them the pictures will help them understand what happened and how 9/11 became an important day in our history.

  33. When 9/11 occurred, I was in kindergarten. I remember watching the events unravel, but not exactly understanding what was going on. Throughout my education, I remember watching videos or having discussions about 9/11 but never fully being educated about the attacks. As a future educator, I think it is important for students to have an understanding of the impact that 9/11 has had on our country and how this still impacts our country in present day. It is important for students to understand that this event changed life in the United States.

  34. Once I saw this title I instantly felt drawn to read this article. I was in preschool when this happened and every year when this date comes around we are reminded of those tragic lives that were lost. I agree that this should be taught and discussed through social studies content except I think it should be a topic that we discuss more than just once a year. Growing up I remember we only talked about this on the actual date of 9/11. I think it’s important that we inform our students, show them video clips, and read articles about this because it was a huge event that happened in our country.

  35. I was only three years old when 9/11 occurred, so I don’t actually remember the day but my mom has said before that she was home from work with me that day and we were watching it all over the news. She has always talked about how devastating and sad that it was that something like this occurred and would make a significant impact on all of our lives today. I think it is so important that we remember this day every year for everyone who it has impacted in the world. I do remember talking about it in school every year on 9/11 in social studies class whether it was watching a video or just being reminded of the images and events that happened that day. I also have never thought about how we’re gonna teach children about 9/11 that weren’t alive when it happened. I do believe that it is an extremely important topic that a parent should share with their kids or a teacher should share with their students. It’s important to know about an event that has impacted our world and lives today. We should never stop talking about this day In school because it’s so significant.

  36. Although I do not personally remember anything from September 11th of 2001, both of my parents have always told me that they can vividly remember where they were and what they were doing on that devastating, tragic day. Growing up, we always spent a significant amount of time discussing 9/11 in school. I remember hearing stories about the lives that were lost and the heroic acts of bravery. Nowadays, I feel like most schools just have a moment of silence and students are not being educated on what actually happened. Although it is a hard conversation to have, students deserve to know about such a pivotal point in our history where so many things changed forever. As future social studies educators, it is our responsibility to gear this conversation in an appropriate way that our students will be able to understand.

  37. I was 4 years old when the attacks on 9/11 happened. Although, I don’t remember it the day it happened, it is an event that should not be forgotten. I plan on teaching a lesson about 9/11, in honor of all the innocent victims and their family and friends. I feel that a lesson on 9/11 could be incorporated in as young as a first-grade class. This was a horrible event, but 9/11 cannot be forgotten.

  38. I thought there was something really interesting about the thoughts in the conclusion. At one point it says that a number of young people may not really understand why 9/11 was so important. I was almost 10 when 9/11 happened (actually two days from turning 10), and it also happened to be my Dad’s 40th birthday. I remember coming home with a card I had drawn for him at school that day, where we had had our first code yellow drill seemingly out of nowhere. None of the teachers told us what had happened, but we all could sense something weird was going on. When I got home, my parents were both watching the news about the attacks in real time, and I remember being nine and not fully comprehending the gravity of the situation. My nine-year-old perspective only allowed me to be really angry that some bad people had ruined my Dad’s birthday, that they had taken that day away from him. That night at dinner, I made a stupid nine-year-old comment abut how I was going to “kick the bad guys’ butts,” and my parents both got deadly serious, explaining to my siblings and I that there was nothing funny about what had happened that day, that a lot of people had died and that the attacks could lead to a lot of really bad things in our country. There was really no way for me to know at the time what it all actually meant, but I knew that day on that something in the entire country changed; something had shifted. Because of this, I feel like it allowed me to understand the emotional and social impacts 9/11 had on our country, in addition to slowly learning over the years what exactly happened that day and why. It allows me to connect with people who say things like “where were you the day that…” Those significant events stick out so vibrantly in our minds.

  39. I remember 9/11 quite clearly. Which is surprising since I was only four-years-old. I remember sitting in my grandparents room watching t.v.. All of a sudden, I saw a building collapsing. Then I saw another. I remember being shocked that this was happening. My grandparents were supposed to be leaving on a trip and they decided to stay home. Schools are beginning to talk about 9/11 more and more as the years go one. Even though most were not alive for 9/11 it is crucial that we as educators are talking about this event and how it impacted so many lives. We can’t keep that past from repeating if we don’t keep talking about it. Students need to understand that the act of terrorism and our fight against it has been ongoing for years.

  40. This article caught my attention because of the title. I don’t remember 9/11 at all. I remember the memory my dad has told me about what we were doing during the exact time it happened. I never realized that most young people today really don’t truly know the details of 9/11 or what happened, let alone remember it. Becoming a teacher on 9/11 forever I’m sure we will spend our moment of silence and learn about it. However, it is part of history and should be taught as so. Social studies education is important and so crucial to the people of tomorrow. I love that there are already 9/11 lesson plans attached to this article. It makes me think of what I can do to educate my students one day, the proper way.

  41. I think it is very important that kids learn about the events that happened on 9/11. I was actually in my practicum classroom on September 11 and I was shocked at how little 9/11 was talked about with the students. A news clip was shown to the students about all the current events happening and just since it so happened to be 9/11 the news channel they were watching mentioned it. The classroom teacher made no discussion of it after the news clip. I remember being in elementary school, middle and high school and 9/11 being a very sensitive day and we always talked about what happened and gave a school-wide moment of silence for those who lost their lives that day or families that lost loved ones that day. I think teachers need to be more intentional about teaching history like this in their classrooms.

  42. When 9/11 happened, I was in Kindergarten. I don’t remember anything about that day but my mom tells me that the school dismissed everyone and she was afraid for me to take the bus so she came and got me immediately. I have always wondered what age is the right age to talk about the negative side of our history especially the most recent. After looking over the lesson plans provided in this article, I realized it is much easier than I originally thought to teach these events in history to students. To be honest throughout all my schooling I don’t remember a specific teacher teaching me about what happened on that day. The topic of 9/11 is something no one loves talking about because of the devastation it caused but now I know it is not as difficult as I had originally thought to have this conversation with my students.

  43. The day 9/11 happened, I was a freshman in high school. I vividly remember the feelings and emotions that I, along with my entire school, felt that day. The school was eerily quiet and filled with overwhelming sadness and disbelief. I think it’s so important that we teach children what happened that day. Like you said, teaching history is about teaching the good and the bad. The resources you provided are great! Thank you for taking the time to gather them so that we can educate younger students about this important day in history.

  44. Even though I was alive when this tragic event happened, I was too young to understand the effects of it as a preschooler-often living in a world of her own. Children are comfortable and familiar with this ‘world of their own’. They know & understand their own relationships and experiences. In school, they get to step outside of that and into the real world. As teachers, it truly is our responsibility to make children aware of the reality of the world we live in, and do so in an age-appropriate manner. I am looking forward to reading the referenced article within this one to get some specific advice on sharing about 9/11 to my future students.

  45. On September 11, 2001 I was barely three years old. It has been interesting learning about that day simply because of the fact that I have no memory of that day or how the world changed because of it. While I know that things are different it is still odd for me to see things how they were beforehand. For example, I have seen movies where family members would be able to walk all the way to the gate and wait for their family members to get off. When I first saw that my mind told me that obviously it was just because it was what they wanted in the movie. I didn’t realize for a long time that is what used to happen. It is so important to include this in the schools because it helps them to see how such a huge even affected the world. It is something that should never be forgotten. 

  46. I was an infant when 9/11 occurred, so I have no recollection of the day it happened. In elementary school, my teachers made a point to teach us the events that happened that day, and its repercussions on our world as we know it. As I grew up and eventually got into high school, I appreciate my teachers effort in educating us on such a tragic event that shaped our country, when we weren’t there and/or weren’t able to remember 9/11 itself. I hope they continue to educate the students who were born long after 9/11, and hopefully make them able to never forget it.

  47. On 9/11 I was only a year and half so I don’t remember It at all but my grandma said that I was at her house that day when it happened.Since I was alive for it but don’t have any recollection of the events I always remember in school that my teachers would show the news footage of the planes hitting the towers and I think that always stuck with me because you were watching on tv thousands of people die. I think its shocking but I think in cases like this we need to be shocked and slightly uncomfortable for people to really try to feel what our parents and grandparents felt when it happened. I think it would be important to show my students one day the footage because they weren’t even alive when it happened and when we desensitize our selves from bad or ugly parts of history we set our selves up for them to repeat themselves.

  48. I was very young when 9/11 happened. Even though I was only three it’s a day that that is etched in my mind forever. I remember sitting on my living room floor with my parents and a guy that was painting our house. Watching the TV as our house was trembling from the amount of planes coming and going from the air force base that was practically in my backyard. Even though I remember what I was doing the day if the attacks I didn’t realize the severity of it until I learned about it in school, and then I learned even more when I went to NYC my 7th grade year. 9/11 was such a tragic event that changed so many things in our country. The after affects like all the lives lost and changing security laws will always be a remembrance of that day. Schools should never stop teaching about it, a day so historic and horrific should never be forgotten.

  49. On September 11th, I had just turned 2, my uncle had called my mom, and we were at home. This is not an event I remember, and yet the notion that there are people, 17 year old people, who were born after this event, is hard to understand, as if time and life should stop after a horrific event like this one. But it didn’t, and when the next catastrophic event happens, things must eventually go back to normality again. I think many people have to come to terms with the fact that 9/11 is history yet, it is so fresh in the minds of our teachers, our parents, and our leaders that they haven’t quite realized that this next wave coming through, like me, who will be a teacher in only a few short years, have no recollection of the event. 9/11 needs to stop being treated like a collective shared history, because it no longer is, and rather needs to be seen as recent history that must be added to the curriculum, if we, as a human race, intended to remember it. I also think the link provided in the article was interesting, the one titled “how to teach 9/11 to students who don’t remember it” because I’m sure it is very difficult to teach something you have a fresh memory of, or something that you have taught to students who have remembered the event and know do not. Even if it is difficult to do, it is something that must happen and it is vital that this becomes apart of the curriculum so that this event is not forgotten.

  50. On 9/11/2001 I was sitting in the living room playing in front of the tv (according to my parents as I was only 3 at the time). So I have no real time memory of the events but I remember in elementary school seeing the videos and having tears stream down my face. Still to this day I still tear up when I see things like this and as a proud American it make me feel a lot of mixed feelings, like anger towards people who could do this, frustration at our government for letting our guard down like this, and sadness for all those people who lost there lives on that day and people who are still dying of lung disease and cancer and have a government that’s uses them and yet in their time of need turns there back to them. This pisses me off more than anything because no American should ever forget this tragic event and we should take away a hard lesson from this.

  51. I was only two years old when 911 happened. I don’t have any memory of it, but I do know what happened that day because my parents have told me time and again. I grew up learning about it in school. Every year we would watch videos about that day, or we would discuss it. However as the years went by, we talked about it less and less. This year, I don’t even remember hearing anyone talk about it, or seeing anything on social media. Its something that is slowly being forgotten. I think its important to recall history and remember its repercussions. History is how we learn from our mistakes, honor those who died, and share our stories.

  52. This article really caught my attention because as someone who clearly remembers 9/11 from 6th grade Music class, it is a good reminder that as I journey into my career as an educator, I will be working with children who have no concept of what happened or why it was such a monumentally historic event. And to think, 10 to 15 years from now, I will be teaching students whose PARENTS weren’t even alive at that time to share their glimpse of the emotional event. Something that is also just as important, if not more, as teaching about what happened on September 11 is teaching students about the aftermath of how united our American nation was while we grieved and sought answers. I still watch news highlights and documentaries from that day and more time was spent discussing the cleanup triumphs than bashing decisions made by government officials. The behavior of the media and those in office during that time is something that I want to make a point of shedding light on and to give students hope that kindness is out there and its up to them to spread it.

  53. I do not remember anything about the events on 9/11. I was only about 3 or 4 years old at the time. My mother and father have told me more about 9/11 than what I have learned about in school. There is not enough talk about what exactly happened. Everyone seems to know the basics, but no details. We do not show our students pictures anymore or talk about how horrible it really was. Discussing how people died from respiratory diseases and cancer after this time and still today, really hit me hard. I never even knew this. I can’t imagine the things that students aren’t being told about it today if I didn’t even know this. I plan on using these lesson plans to teach in my classroom someday. They are great resources and should be utilized.

  54. Unlike other big issues, I do feel as though I have learned a great deal about this tragic event in American history. I feel like my school curriculum and teachers from a young age emphasized the gravity of this event and implemented its effects. I think that this event is so substantial to the social studies curriculum just because it is so recent and has effected a large majority of our population. A big portion of our country lived through this tragic event and has suffered from it. I do feel like I know a lot more about the physicality of what happened and the tragedy within, but less of the motives and reasoning as to why it happened. This event needs to continue to be talked about, as it has radically changed the dynamic of our country. After 9/11 there grew higher security, greater awareness, deeper fear, and great financial burden. I do feel like as I’ve grown older, this is talked about less, and It’s honestly sometimes easy to forget about as we move on and focus more on the current issues in our country. This is one of the heftiest acts of terrorism our country has experienced, and the key example of understanding the idea of terrorism. I distinctly remember in elementary school always being intrigued and stunned by this event, and I remember it being a key subject to my learning. I remember interviewing my parents on where they were September 11th, I remember learning about “ground zero,” I remember taking moments of silence to acknowledge this event, and more. Overall, I’m thankful for my understanding of this event and would be interested to see the extent that students are learning about this today.

  55. I was three years old when the events of September 11th, 2001 occurred. I have no memory of the day or the events from when they happened, only what I have learned in school or heard from word of mouth about the day. It is something that we talk about yearly, and while it is a tragic event, it is not one of the primary ones that stick out in my mind as I was not mature enough to comprehend what was happening at the time. I think that as time goes on and the people we are teaching in schools have less and less of a connection to the event, it will lose it’s meaning and it’s importance in the eyes of who it is being taught to about its significance in American history. We will soon hit a point where the bulk of teachers who are responsible for teaching about the date to students will not have any memory of the day, just like their students. While I believe that there are more relevant events that could be discussed instead, I still am capable of understanding why the date is important to remember, the people affected by that day are worthy of being remembered, mourned, and supported, and what it can provide us from a teaching perspective.

  56. I fall under the category of people who do not have a very vivid memory of 9/11. I was only three years old when it occurred, so most of what I know about 9/11 has come from what others have told me and what I’ve learned in school. Even though I wasn’t old enough to remember it, I’m still affected and devastated by it whenever I do hear about it. I still don’t understand why someone would do something so horrible. I think it’s crucial that we still teach and inform our next generation on this major U.S tragedy. Even though it occurred 18 years ago, it still affects all of us today, and will continue to affect us. For example, airport security is much stricter than it was prior to 9/11 occurring, to insure our safety and security. It’s our job as citizens to stand for those who lost their lives and honor those that made tremendous sacrifices on that horrible day.

  57. When the 9/11 attacks happened I was in kindergarten. Since I was so young there isn’t much that I remember except I very vividly remember one of my teachers crying because her son worked in one of the twin towers and she had not heard from him yet. At this time, the kids in my class were all too young to know what really had happened that day. From that year on we learned about 9/11 in our history classes and would spend days talking about the different events that happened that day around the anniversary. As future teachers I think that it is very important to educate our future classes about this specific topic and make sure that they are as educated about the topic as they can be. This is an event that changed the United States forever and. we should not be afraid to teach it.

  58. Teaching events that were so impactfull on the history of American and the world for that matter, such as the Civiil War and the World Wars is one thing. I was not alive during those events and much of what I am teaching is based on facts from the time, logic, and the understanding of the human condition. Teaching students about an event like 9/11, where I was actually alive, aware, and emotionally involved is a whole other thing compared to the former examples of events. I believe as teachers in the field of social studies, we have many opportunities to encourage students to not only better understand our country and our world, but to be better people in general. The main positive about teaching social studies is that much of the material is relatable to student’s individual lives for much of what occurred in wars and other events in history applies too our modern world. The key to me, or the greatest thing a social studies teacher can do is not just teach the content of events in our history, but to use the content to make the world a better place through your instruction. In the case of 9/11, its provide a great opportunity to be open and candid with your students about what you were doing that day, how it made you feel, and how it impacted you in your own life. Just like war and the fight for equality, 9/11 is an event that can be used to show a more personal side of yourself to the students and in return earn respect, as well as engagement. Students must learn the content, absolutely, but a Social Studies classroom can be a place where our history is used as a guide to how to appreciate life and the others that exist within it as well. Events like 9/11 is a reminder that we are not guaranteed the next minute of our lives and the importance of how we respect, love, and appreciate one another,

  59. What Happened on September 11th?For many of us, the events of September 11 represent a prime example of living through significant history. Everthing that happens is a part of history, however, 9/11 is cemented in the minds of many generations. At times, it can be hard to believe how much time has passed since its occurrence. This is apparent in many classrooms today as some students might be hearing about this event for the first time within the confines of a classroom. Our responsibility, as teachers, is to ensure that this point in history is not forgotten and detail its importance and continuing relevancy. 

  60. I have little to no recollection of 9/11 as I was in first grade. What I do remember however is all of the older kids talking about it on the bus the next morning and afternoon. I also remember the conversations I heard from my family, the devastation and anger in their voices. While I don’t remember a whole lot of the actual event I remember the aftermath. What I find the most interesting, is that from now on, all of our K-12 students, none of them will have lived through it, every student I teach, it will be merely a matter of history rather than a lived experience.

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