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This Day: 9/11

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Every generation has seminal events that orient them in history and society. Among ours, referring largely to Gen Xers and Millennials, is September 11, 2001, when extremist terrorists hijacked four planes and converted them into weapons.

It might cause most of us pause to think that many of the younger people we know, the students in school today, our kids, the neighbors' kids, were not yet alive when these attacks occurred. (Personal context: My eldest was born 2.25 years after the attacks.)

Two reflecting pools stand in place of the Twin Towers. 2,996 people died as a result of the attacks.

The events of this day, 19 years ago, are still present to our generations, but they are as much history to later generations as the Tulsa race massacre and other race riots of the early 1900s, WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam and many other notable, pivotal and devastating events are to us. Past. (A friend pointed out that she and her family have been to the memorial site to view every face and read every name. She remarked that what to them was hallowed ground to others was another tourist attraction for selfies.)

I could ramble a while about the relevance of history ... but I won't. Not today.

I find myself thinking about myriad things related to 9/11, including the different value that we as a society and as individuals seem to assign lives based on how they are lost, who they were, what skin color, religion and other defining characteristics they bore as well as what value we show for the same people when they are alive. I could go on about this, too, ... but I won't. Not today.

Instead, if you want to learn more about 9/11, know that you can visit the memorial virtually and learn a great deal at the website, which includes interactive timelines, activities for young people at home (including letter writing to local first responders), and access to parts of the exhibits. The site also has numerous primary source documents related to the events. They don't tell you everything there is to know or discuss, but they're a good start.

For those who have not been able to visit the memorial museum in New York City:

The Zinn Education Project also provides myriad resources related 9/11 and other events that you might not encounter on more "mainstream" news and education sites. Consider checking them out. So, too, does Teaching Tolerance.

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