is the tenth anniversary of 9/11. And I have to say I’m very glad it is before my first day with my new class. Ten years ago it was the day I began teaching those NYC fourth graders of 2001-2002 and that day and the many after are burned into my memory.
As time goes on more books come out and more discussions occur on how to talk about and teach about this day with and to children who are, more and more, too young or were not even born when it happened. My feeling is that I have to be very careful to keep my still-raw feelings out of the way. I think it must be a bit as it was for my parents and the Holocaust. At fourteen (my father in 1936) and seventeen (my mother in 1939) my parents, their immediate families, and many relatives fled Germany while others stayed (say my grandfather who was killed). For me, growing up in the 50s and 60s, the Holocaust was curious and a bit –to be completely honest — intriguing in an almost titillating way. Somehow I didn’t connect it to me in any scary way. And I think we need to be careful to keep that sort of response in mind with younger kids today with 9/11. That they might respond to it in ways that are not about the sadness and loss that it is for those of us who remember it.
I’ve kept all the stuff that was sent to my school from around the world, my students’ artistic and heartfelt responses, some books, some newspapers, and memories. There will be many memorials on Sunday. Mine will be in my heart.