Teachable moments: 10 years after 9/11

Before “9/11,”  September 11th was just a date on the calendar.

The South Tower of the World Trade Center explodes in flames after being hit by the hijacked airliner now universally known as "the second plane," United Airlines Flight 175, September 11, 2001.

For many adults in this country, the memory of September 11th, 2001, is virtually seared into our memories.

But our children may be too young to remember it.  Our children are part of the first generation without a memory of a pre-9/11 world.

They have to learn what happened that day and how it changed the country.

Some things didn’t even exist prior to 9/11.  The Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, body scanners, and TSA pat-downs are all common now but are part of how America changed.

How do you use 9/11 in your homeschool as a teachable moment?

Here are a few resources available:

To mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that have come to define the modern era, Learn Out Loud is featuring an unabridged audio book version of  The 9/11 Commission Report The report was issued in 2004 and details the findings of the Commission after interviewing over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewing over two and a half million pages of documents. The report looks at the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks and it outlines a strategy for the War on Terror.  Admittedly, many of us will not download all 56 parts of this, so how about this instead…

Learn Out Loud also has speeches and interviews available on streaming audio from The Authentic History Center.  These speeches & interviews represent September 11th directly as it happened: through various news dispatches, Pentagon briefings, and statements made by the President and other governmental officials.

As an example,  Multimedia Timeline #1: September 11, 2001 gives a moment-by-moment account of the day starting at 5:00 am when National Public Radio begins broadcasting its pre-recorded program, Morning Edition, beginning with a story about President Bush visiting a school in Florida.  Excellent play-by-play of every little detail with corresponding audio and video clips.

You probably know that  trained search dogs and their handlers were deployed by FEMA to join the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Alongside firemen and other teams sorting through the debris, the dogs worked tirelessly around the clock to locate survivors in the rubble.   Out of nearly 100 of these search and rescue trained dogs, now one decade later Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas discovered that only 15 of these dogs were still alive.  She succeeded in tracking each of them down, visiting and photographing the dogs at their homes throughout the U.S., where they all still live with their handlers.  The stories and photographs will be published soon in the book, “Retrieved.”  You can see a few of them here.  The photos give an intimate view into the everyday lives of these animals, now sharing the vulnerability of old age as they once pursued a common heroic goal, and provide an interesting side resource to the memory of 9/11.

For older students, History.com has a new documentary and other related media “102 Minutes That Changed America.”

Here’s an in-depth report from Scholastic News on the events of September 11th.  See how the President responded, the difference kids made, how the victims of the attacks were honored, and how America was changed.

The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath.

Guide to Websites has an indexed and annotated guide to September 11 resources.

You can use this 4 part video on You Tube of the National Geographic Channel documentary from 2005-06 (PART 1 of 4).

Inside 9/11 from National Geographic is a web-only interactive that includes over two hours of never-before-seen eye witness accounts, and expert commentaries about the policies and events that led up to the disaster.

PBS  put together resources to help educators teach students about peace, tolerance, war, patriotism, geography, and other related issues.  These lesson plans were put together immediately after 9/11 but are still relevant today.

Maybe someday September 11th may become just another date on the calendar again,  just like what happened to Pearl Harbor Day.

And maybe the best we can do about 9/11 is learning and knowing that despite the horrible things people can do, our God is in charge and all things will work together for good.


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