A friend of mine pointed me to an article, one of many I’ve read over the last few days as the media and Americans everywhere commemorate the tragedies of September 11, 2001, vowing “we will never forget!” This is just one fo several I read:
I think what he says is truly reflected in our kids walking the halls. These students in my high school were 4, 5, 6, and 7 years old when this happened. They have no sense for the devastation, the fear, the uprising of patriotism, or the sheer need that day to appreciate having loved ones to turn too.
My own reaction
I was stunned the first Sunday after 9-11 to see our church busting at the seams. Not once since have I seen the same response. In a way I was angered by it. I had many mixed emotions in the days that followed that tragedy. Some to this day I still deal with and cannot explain, such as feelings even to the point of disgust at the chosen pictures used in our school assembly….Doesnt mean I wasnt moved or did not care, either. I just knew no matter how respectful or patritotic that program indeed was, far too many in the audience wouldnt understand.
Where was I?
Many a time this week I have engaged in similar conversations that began with the question “where were you when you heard about the attacks?” I had grown up hearing my own parents and grandparents ask that same starter question regarding the assassination of JFK. I was a mere infant, with no memory for it, so maybe I should be able to understand our own students whose reaction is rather ho hum. On the fateful day of 9-11, I was waiting for a class to show up in the library, but not surprisingly, no class showed up. I also remember by lunch getting the directive from administration to pull the plug on our school’s ability to show any coverage. Of course back then, I controlled the channels that fed throughout the building’s distribution sustem, so I had to comply. Many students were dismissed that day, parents streaming in to sign their children out. My phone was ringing off the hook as well, as my own immediate family members were calling to make sure we were okay. It’s not that we didn’t think everyone wasn’t okay physically–just the need to hear reassurance that mentally we were all dealing with the devastation. I remember clearly not tearing up or anything until I talked with my Mom. I was working around 40 miles from my own home, so I was rest assured my husband had checked on our own two kids, one a preteen, the other a budding teenager.
Are our kids desensitized by modern media?
My memories of the days just afterward center on a lot of pride for our country, our seemingly coming together as one, and how it seemed an act designed to devastate quite possibly had the opposite affect. But just as the author of the NPR article suggests, I am dismayed to realize most seem desensitized to the memory of that fateful day. Let us never forget.
Our students respond; an idea for a guest visitor is born
It was nice to read our own students work towards a commemoration as well in our school newspaper, The Cavalier. And surprise! A guest article/op-ed piece by none other than Pulitzer Prize winning Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, a columnist for the Miami Herald. There is talk of a skype visit by Leonard Pitts for our Journalism and English classes. I hope I get to be the technical assistance so I can be a part of this! I have to wonder though, would we be making arrangements for this virtual visit without the 9-11 issue? Still, its an exciting opportunity, even if born from the memory of a tragedy.