Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering September 11th

September 11, 2001 affected me in such a way that I can't go by this day without thinking about how I felt on that day. It was just like it happened yesterday. My husband was working just outside the Capitol building on that day and I remember the fear that beseiged me when I didn't hear from him for hours. I was teaching 3rd grade at the time. We were told NOT to turn on the TVs for fear of terrifying the little ones. While I heard from my husband that afternoon after he was able to get to a land line, my heart broke for so many who wouldn't be so lucky. Everything changed on that day. I remember how my students the next day had so many questions.

This year, as every year, I decided to read 3 books around September 11th.

Yesterday, September 10th, I read The Man who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein. I love this book for the fact that I love unique things in history that I may not have ever heard of before. What's unique about this book is that it was published after September 11th, 2001, so the significance of Phillipe Petit walking on a tightrope between the towers is even more moving, since the Twin Towers are no longer there. Gerstein addresses that in the book too.

Today I read one of my favorite books, Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman. This book tells about an old fireboat that was left for scrap when a group decided to restore it to it's old glory. It's heyday was in 1931, but it was put into use on September 11, 2001 to help fight the fires. It is a story of heroes and the good people that helped out that day.

One of the things that really hit me this year was the fact that I have students who were 2 or 3 on September 11, 2001. Wow! They don't have any concept of how horrifying that day was. In fact I even had questions today like: Did the people MEAN to fly the plane into the towers? Did a lot of people die? I was stunned. These children were so small and protected from this event that they don't have the memory that the rest of us do.

Tomorrow I will read September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right Written and illustrated by H. Byron Masterson Elementary first graders. This book was part of Scholastic Kids are Authors award winner in 2002. While as adults,we knew that on September 12th the world had changed forever and it would probably NEVER be "all right" again, this is an honest story told by 6 year olds. They talk about the acts of patriotism shown around the world and how their routine had returned to some what normal, giving them a sense of safety. The sad thing is, I know many children who lost a parent didn't have that sense of safety.

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