HOPF: Teaching what happened on Sept. 11, 2001

Posted: Sep. 9, 2011 6:11 am Updated: Nov. 29, 2014 5:16 am

Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that no one will ever forget. The images shown in real time on every TV station and across every newspaper front page flash across our minds whenever it is mentioned.

The event has been called my generation's Pearl Harbor, of JFK assassination. It's a moment in history where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.

I was a sophomore in high school and in the middle of study hall in the band room. The band director ran to tell us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. He tried to get the news on the room's TV, but was unsuccessful. As the day went on, we watched news reports in multiple classes as events unfolded.

Later, I found out my mom, who worked in the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in downtown Chicago, was evacuated along with everyone else as a precaution in case more attacks on major cities were imminent.

As we move further away from that day, there is a new generation of children who may not understand what happened that day. So they will learn about it from their parents, a documentary they might see on TV and, of course, in school.

Students at Quincy Junior High School were alive on Sept. 11, 2001, but many are probably to young to remember what happened.

Lisa Goughnour, head of the QJHS history and geography departments, said that every history and geography class should take time today to discuss Sept. 11.

"My ninth-graders, they would have been 4 or 5, and to them they may never even have even remembered it," she said. "They would have remembered more how their parents reacted or brothers and sister."

The classes will discuss the events of that day to remember those lost, but also learn about some of the events that followed.

"You look at it from the perspective that this is where we got Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, and why we have the war in Afghanistan and Iraq," Goughnour said. "These are current issues and things that come up that kids hear about that our results from Sept. 11."

The events of Sept. 11 are discussed every year at the school.

"We usually take some time to remember Sept. 11, whether it be a school-wide situation where we have a teacher who may give some kind of remembrance about it or whether we decide to as a history and geography to take it and handle it individually in our classrooms," Goughnour said.

Teachers have resources to help students learn about Sept. 11 for the specific age groups. As students get older and continue studying contemporary history, they will learn more about the effect Sept. 11 had on the nation and the world.

"That's where you will put it in its historical context with that particular point in time," Goughnour said.

As new generations of students enter school, continuing the education on Sept. 11 is even more important, because the nearly 3,000 people who were lost should never be forgotten.




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