How to Handle 9/11

I remember my colleague Brian appearing in my door saying, “Turn on the news, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center,” voting in the primary that day, and fighter jets occasionally flying over the city. I have 3 sections of seniors this year so they were about seven years old on 9/11 and I imagine that their memories are more connected to their emotions and how their households handled the day and those following it rather than the images of the day’s events unfolding in real-time. Next Sunday being 9/11/11, I have a little time, but I haven’t settled on how to address 9/11 in class this week. In August, the Smithsonian held a conference centered on 9/11 and teaching contemporary history. The conference was recorded and is available on the conference website, as well as links to 9/11 timelines and teaching resources from across the web. Thinking across the web, Larry Ferlazzo¬†also has a great collection of “The Best Sites to Help Teach About 9/11.”

What really drives my thoughts this morning? I turned the TV on while exploring some class materials for tomorrow and C-SPAN 3 was running ¬†American History TV. This episode was an interview with Major Heather Penny of the DC Air National Guard. (The whole episode is online here and links to more of the 9/11 interviews are also included). Everyone I have ever heard talking about that day says the military was authorized to shoot down planes over Washington DC that day, Major Penny discussed how part of her assignment that day included flying into the tail of Flight 93 if it was in her flight space because they didn’t have weapons capable of shooting the plane down.

This country has so many amazing people in it, most of whom probably don’t consider themselves to be amazing either.