The anniversary of 9/11: Are schools marking the day?

Today marks the 11 year anniversary of 9/11. Are schools paying attention to it today? Are there special programs?

My twins are out of school this week — Decatur is on a modified year-round schedule that includes a week-long break in early September. So, my kids are never in school on Sept. 11 to commemorate the tragedy. (By the way, I am on vacation this week so blogging will be sporadic.)

I interviewed Arthur Levine yesterday about his new book “Generation on a Tightrope: Portrait of Today’s College Student,” a snapshot of the values, lives and aspirations of students enrolled in college between 2005 through 2014. Levine is president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and president emeritus of Teachers College, Columbia University.

The book is my topic for my Monday column, but I thought this was relevant today.

When he began the book, Levine assumed that 9/11 would be the defining event in the lives of the tightrope generation. Instead, more students said the biggest impact was the introduction of the World Wide Web (42 percent), followed by the financial crisis (37 percent), 9/11 (29 percent) and President Obama’s nomination and election (25 percent).

The most recent graduating class in the college-age cohort reflected in the book, the class of 2012, was born into a world of Apple, Microsoft and AOL. By their kindergarten, there were smart phones, DVDs and texting. By elementary school, Google, Napster and iPads had arrived on the scene. Middle school witnessed Skype, MySpace and Facebook. And high school brought YouTube, iPhones and Twitter.

For them, the terrorist attacks were a long time ago, says Levine, and did not change their world in significant ways. Technology, on the other hand, has impacted every aspect of their lives, from the personal to the professional.

Among their views on 9/11 and the aftermath:

-Three out of five students holds negative opinions of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

-More than two-thirds think the United States was  wrong to send troops into Afghanistan following 9/11

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

25 comments Add your comment


September 11th, 2012
3:59 am

If those are Truly the beliefs of those students as stated. Then I have Great Pride in the FUTURE of America. They are so much WISER, than we have been as a people of that time period of 9/11 and afterwards.

long time educator

September 11th, 2012
6:02 am

I work in an elementary school and we are wearing red, white and blue today. Some teachers will read books that commemorate 9/11 for kids such as Fireboat, which focuses on rescue heroes. Today’s kids don’t remember the event and would not be well served to be exposed to the true horror of 9/11. When it happened, we did not allow live TV in the elementary school where I worked then, but we did have to address it in the days afterward because parents allowed them to watch the horrific video replays.


September 11th, 2012
6:47 am

It is red, white, and blue day at our school as well. The kids, none of whom were born at 9/11, have no idea why. Not sure the teachers are making the connections, either.

How different from my generation, who probably note the assassination of Kennedy each November (I was in 6th grade). And with my parents, it was Pearl Harbor, and D-Day.


September 11th, 2012
6:56 am

Wouldn’t it be nice if each generation could easily mark the “happiest day” instead of such awful ones?

Annie Kip |

September 11th, 2012
8:13 am

I know it is very difficult, especially for young people, to hold onto something that they did not experience first-hand. My kids experineced 9/11 up close and personal, but were so young that their memories of the event are not accurate or as acute as mine. Because it is part of their history, I will hold onto the memories and share them as they want to know about it.

Pride and Joy

September 11th, 2012
9:37 am

What’s the point of terrifying the kids today?
Many adults experienced post traumatic stress after watching the coverage. Why should be inflict it on kids? High school is an appropriate time to address it in our history class, certainly not earlier.

Pride and Joy

September 11th, 2012
9:39 am

Just Wondering — what are parents doing with their kids who attend Decatur schools and the kids are out this week and next?
My children’s after care program is closed when the school is closed . Last year I had a nanny but this year I cannot afford one because the kids are in private school.
So what is everyone doing for child care?

Truth in Moderation

September 11th, 2012
10:30 am

@Pride and Joy

Why don’t you be a “Good Mother” and take vacation time and stay home with them? That’s the price of your high salary dual income.

Just A Teacher

September 11th, 2012
11:41 am

I have mentioned it to my high school students, the oldest of which were in 1st grade at the time, but I have not spent an entire class period on the subject. The author is right; these children feel more betrayed by Wall Street than Al Qaeda (and maybe rightfully so).


September 11th, 2012
12:02 pm

In response to seeing this posting before I left for work this morning, I decided to discuss it with my seniors today. As the last poster mentioned, these students were 5 or 6 years old when this occurred. They don’t remember pre-9/11 life. I told them of my experiences that day and how annoyed I was that when I visited DC for the first time in 14 years this summer about having to go through bag searches as I was going to see the Smithsonian museum. I don’t think they really know how this tragedy has really affected their lives and won’t until the next time something like this happens.

Truth in Moderation

September 11th, 2012
1:20 pm

Catherine’s Anniversary Prayer — September 11, 2012

By Catherine Austin Fitts

Lord, we gather in prayer on the eleventh anniversary of 9-11;
We thank you for the many blessings you have given us,
among them the gift of life;
Let our hearts be in your heart, our mind in your mind;
Help us to speak life into this anniversary and this day.

We pray for those who lost their lives on 9-11;
We pray for the families who lost loved ones;
We pray for those who lost friends and colleagues;
We pray for those who lost companies, jobs, and resources;
We pray for those who risked their lives and health and whose courage and sacrifice lifted us through this time;
We give thanks for the grace they have brought to this earth;
We pray for the people and the land of New York, Pennsylvania, and northern Virginia;
We pray for all who have suffered and sacrificed in the wars and politics these events were used to justify.

We pray for the perpetrators of the events of 9-11;
We pray for those who exploited these events;
We pray for all who have profited;
We pray for all of us whose participation in unhealthy thoughts, disinformation and
systems has facilitated more killing, more war;
May that which has been stolen be restored;
May we all be restored to your love and your peace.

We give thanks to the millions of people who have contributed to our understanding of these events;
We give thanks for independent media;
We give thanks for independent journalists and investigators; authors, engineers, architects and scientists, concerned citizens;
Lord, protect them, encourage them, lift them up and let them feel today our appreciation and our admiration;
They have stood between us and the abyss:
They are “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”
Let our resources gather to replenish and refresh them— their best is yet to come.

Lord, we know you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a strong mind;
Allow the light of truth to shine and spread; to restore, to heal; and to illuminate pathways to heal hearts and rebuild the wasted places.

Today, on this special day, we celebrate that all things are possible.

We give praise and restoration in the name of Jesus,


Teacher, Too

September 11th, 2012
2:49 pm

Yes, I did in social studies. September 11,2001, is a day that students need to learn about and understand, just like Pearl Harbor Day. It should be part of our collective memory… and you don’t have to show the Towers falling to teach students to respect the victims, the first responders, and our service men and women.


September 11th, 2012
4:25 pm

Yesterday and today, I taught my high school IEL (Intensive English Language) class about 9-11. These are students who are brand new to America, and who speak very limited English. It was a huge challenge to discuss words such as terrorist, attack, etc. to kids who are still learning the names of the colors, but I felt that it was important for them to understand something about this day to understand the country they now call home. I tried to stay positive by focusing on the heroes who lost their lives and people who have chosen to be positive in the face of tragedy. I think the most effective part of my lesson was playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Into the Fire” which is about the first responders and discussing the lyrics with them. I’m glad I decided to do this.


September 11th, 2012
6:12 pm

We had a moment of silence at 8:45 this morning. That was it. My own two children were 9 and 13 in 2001. They remember things vividly. We were not allowed to have t.v.s on in the school when it happened, but, for many days after, the students talked about it because their parents watched only news on the terrible tragedy.


September 11th, 2012
8:41 pm

In a word, yes, we had the kids put together a 10-12 minute video including teachers remembrances of where they were, what they did, how they felt. We broadcast it to school during announcements.I teared up (I knew people who lost their lives that day as did other teachers). Probably the most impact on the kids was not so much the words but the teachers who broke up during their interviews and the teachers who cried during the video. I know where I was when JFK was shot and more recently, on 9/11. Every generation has their gut wrenching moment, some of us have more than one.


September 11th, 2012
10:05 pm

My middle school showed a 7-minute film on the morning announcements this morning about it. I cried, as I knew I would, and they were sobered to think that whatever happened that day, it made me cry. I could only make two points about it as we began our day: First…..the first responders ran INTO the disaster as people were running out. We need to be thankful that there are people who are willing to risk their lives to save ours. Would we do the same? Second……America changed after that day. It was an end of innocence –an innocence that they will never know.

Many of my students knew how old they were on that day—7 months, 10 months, 6 weeks….in utero….. Their parents have discussed the day with them. That’s good.

Truth in Moderation

September 11th, 2012
11:14 pm

Bertis Downs

September 13th, 2012
6:29 am

a good piece by a sophomore at Clarke Central here in Athens– published in The Odyssey:


September 13th, 2012
11:31 am

There have been only a few times that America has been attacked on her own soil. 9/11 and Pearl Harbor are 2 of them. To equate it to to the Wall Street crashes, which happen in regular cycles every 20 years or so show a great misunderstanding of who we are as a nation. We will not survive as a great nation with that attitude. It is not appropriate to wallow in sorrow and pity but it is absolutely critical that our children remember the American pride shown when as a nation we stood together and as we collectively cried as the towers fell on television and thousands of innocents lost their lives to religious extremists who, historically, mark such conquests throughout time with great buildings and further cries of jihad/war. One only has to look at the American embassies being taken over these past 2 days with more death and destruction to see that failing to remember is quite dangerous to our future existence as a nation of freedom.


September 13th, 2012
11:34 am

if you think, for a moment, that ignoring the attack and acquiescing, will result in them liking us more and letting us be… think again. Israel has walked away from territory in the name of “letting it go” and “trying for peace” and it’s just brought rockets and missiles closer in (I know people are going to argue this with me — but before you do, take a look, historically, at what happened when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and see how many more rocket they got lobbed at them before you begin to question what I’m saying….unilaterally withdrawing didn’t buy them peace in the Gaza strip).


September 13th, 2012
4:04 pm

That’s because the palestinians in the middle east have declared that the only “acceptable” solution is to have no Israel. They will not be satisfied until Israel is no more.

When 1,010 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were queried about President Barack Obama’s statement that “there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people,”, only 34% said they accepted that idea, while 61% rejected it. And 66% admitted that the Palestinians’ real goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state, i.e., destroy Israel as a Jewish State.

Read more:

Ros Dalton

September 14th, 2012
8:34 am

We marked it school wide simply with a few words and an additional moment of silence for those lost. In the classrooms it was up to the teachers.


September 14th, 2012
8:40 am

SEE – I agree — but that also proves the “you can’t get unilateral peace” idea too – I think (personally) that the US response (or more accurately, lack of response) to the USS Cole and World Trade Center 1 — “encouraged” 9/11 — ergo — we absolutely owe it to ourselves as a nation and to all of our soldiers who have given their lives and body parts and, what to mind is souls but I’m looking for something to get at all those with PTS issues from war…. to “fighting back” to protect our flag. We must remember or we will be no more a nation of “liberty and justice for all.”

Ole Guy

September 14th, 2012
5:51 pm

I’m not too sure there are many…kids nor adults…who truly understand the significance of this day. To simply label this day as the day the Towers fell misses the mark. To understand the true price of freedom and of freedom’s securities approaches this understanding of the significance of this day; not simply a day to wave flags and sing songs, although, if we know Why we wave flags and sing songs, we just might begin to approach an understanding of the significance of 9/11. Next time you see some of the dirty work which entails National Defense, don’t simply say “not my son/not me”. There’s no romance here; no songs; no bands, and certainly no recognition, simply doing what many generations have done before. Are you up to it?


September 14th, 2012
10:59 pm

Ole Guy — you usually get it right. One only has to take a look at life under Nazi rule or Stalin to see just how bad things can be without freedom and liberty. Watching the evening news tonight and seeing how “out of control” the mobs are in “offense” of our “freedom of speech” in the name of “movies against Muhammad” is absolutely frightening. It is worth so much blood to protect “libery, justice and freedom for all” and most folks just don’t get it. 9/11 reprents a crumbling of that.