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Teaching the impacts of 9/11 – Educators reflect after 18 years

Even after 18 years, 9/11 remains a day many of us will never forget, but what about the people too young to remember or who weren’t even born yet.

Educators are filled with emotion now teaching students about the day that shaped modern history.

“I watched for about two hours and I saw the second plane kind of come in and hit and all your insides drop and every time I tell the story that emotion kind of comes back.” said Greg Gilson, a U.S. Government teacher at Manual High School.

“A sincere amount of confusion and then by the end of the day when it seemed like things were over the kind of kinetic part of it was over, just the sheer shock and feeling just completely dumbfounded.” said Megan Remmel, a Political Science assistant professor at Bradley University

Remmel said images from that day for her students are ones they associate with history books and a terrible day for our nation.

“I even asked does anybody have any questions? Does anybody want to talk about it at all? And they’re just kinda like, no, and it’s not that they are callous or that they don’t care, but it’s not something that they recognize shaped their lives because they don’t know any different.” said Remmel

She said teaching a generation who only know post 9/11 life, shifts the focus from the events of the tragic day, to it’s impact on society and politics. Gilson focuses on similar aspects every year.

“It hugely impacted our country and our world in not just the amount of deaths, but in the amount of time it takes at an airport, they way we racial profile, things that happened as a result of that. I think our students have a hard time grasping because it is what you’re learning, let’s that a look at it.” said Gilson

They said talking about the war in Afghanistan and the role terrorism has played in out national security allows them to comprehend the complex emotions which fill so many Americans.

“Looking at it not in a reminiscent way but looking at it as this happened and it was a horrible event. Here’s what the world looks like now, how do we then move forward, how can we avoid something like this again and have students discuss that best they can.” said Gilson

Kaitlin Pearson

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