Talking to to 11 Year Olds About 9/11, 2001.

Last week I taught a song called “One Nation” by Teresa Jennings with a view toward discussing 9/11 with the kids this week after singing it again. I began by showing them a picture in the book “This Land is Your Land” that was printed in 1998. I showed them a picture of NYC that includes the twin towers and asked them how they thought I could know by looking at the picture that this book is more than 10 years old. It didn’t take them long at all to figure it out: the twin towers are in the picture. They were still there when the book was published.

Then, here’s what I said to them:

” I taught you this song last week, because I wanted it to make you think about the 10 th anniversary of 9/11. I know that you don’t remember it. Some of you weren’t even born yet 10 years ago. But I was here, and I remember it. It was an awful, horrible day. We couldn’t let the kids go out for recess because we didn’t know what was going to happen next and we needed to keep them safe. But we couldn’t tell them why either…we figured that was for their parents to do. Parents came and picked up their children all day long. Evening activities were canceled.

But the next day….American flags were everywhere….flying from car windows, rooftops, doorways, flag poles. Everyone was sending a message….we ARE one nation. We stick together. People were really nice to each other in the days after 9/11, 2001. You know, I’m not always the nicest person…especially behind the wheel of a car. I get mad if the person in front of me is going too slow, or if the person behind me is tailgating, or if someone charges through an intersection when it’s supposed to be my turn. But on September 12, and for sometime after, I, and I think many other people, realized that those things don’t really matter. People came from all over the country to try and rescue those who had been buried in the rubble. Some of those people died, trying to help. That was an extreme cost, like the song says. Paying with your life, so that someone else could live. Freedom IS precious, and costly. And that’s why I wanted to observe 9/11 with you, 10 years later. It’s easy to forget that the important things are taking care of each other, making other people your priority. I’ve forgotten…..I’m back to being a crab behind the wheel of a car, or in other unimportant situations. But when we remember 9/11 ten years ago, we can remember what’s really important; how people came together and helped each other. It’s what I wanted you to learn from this very positive song. Even out of the worst circumstances, good can come.”

We are one nation. We are one land.
Together in freedom, united we stand.

They had a lot of comments; a lot to say. They may not have been here, but they’ve heard. They have lots of questions, and lots of thoughts. And for once, they were all quiet. They wanted to hear about it. They want to know what to make of it all.

I love it when we just talk.


2 comments on “Talking to to 11 Year Olds About 9/11, 2001.”

  1. I remember being in your room when you found this son in the magazine way back when. I’m glad that you were able to use it for such an important lesson. “Just talking” with the kids is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂

  2. What a day! How special.

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