Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Many of today’s youth were born after this tragedy occurred. They will never know the pain and anguish we experienced as we watched the towers collapse, the Pentagon under attack, and learned about the airplane carrying 40 souls that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. My daughter (14-years-old) asked her father and I yesterday, “Are you guys OK? I mean with the 9/11 thing and all.” She was genuinely concerned about how we were feeling. It struck me how we had never really talked about this with her. We quietly mourned and shed tears each year. We put a flag out by our mailbox. We held her and her brother a little tighter on each 9/11 as the years passed. But we never really talked about it with them. It was too scary – too awful. We hadn’t come to grips with it. How can we expect them to?
So we started talking. My daughter explained that her class was studying 9/11 in her social studies course in high school. This truly gave me pause – something I had experienced, witnessed, grieved was the subject of her studies in school now. Fifteen years. It is history and always will be for her and her brother because they weren’t even born yet when it happened. I had to change my mindset to think about it in her terms – as a part of history, as something she didn’t know.
Discussing 9/11 is not easy, but you can do it. Hopefully, these tools and resources will help:
- Talk to Children about 9/11
- Grade-appropriate Lesson Plans for Teachers
- Children’s books about 9/11
- Videos and documentaries on 9/11 for Grades 6-12 in US
- America Responds: Resources to teach about peace, tolerance, war, patriotism, geography, and other related issues
- Remembering September 11th
- Talking to children about scary news stories
And finally, some encouraging words from Mister Rogers: