Remembering 9/11

September 11th, 2012

Eleven years ago today, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, killed nearly 3,000 people who died in the Twin Towers of New York City, the Pentagon, and the hijacked planes.

Our friends at EDSITEment have some suggested lesson plans for teachers looking to engage students in a discussion about the attacks of 9/11. Drawing from the lesson plans and study guides produced by the 9/11 Memorial, students are encouraged to use the interactive timeline to learn more about the events of 9/11, consider what makes a hero, and discuss how we should memorialize and remember the tragic day:

Historical Context: What Happened?

In this section, you will be working with an interactive timeline of the events of September 11, 2001, and exploring them through primary resources including video, text, audio. Open up the interactive timeline on the 9/11 Memorial site. You will be using the “Timeline” worksheet to analyze it. The worksheet directs you to different time-stamped moments of the morning of September 11. Study the thematic time stamps andselect one to write a thoughtful 300 to 500 word essay that responds to guiding questions provided in the worksheet).

  • Why did you select this particular moment in the timeline of the events? Why did you find it so striking?
  • How many acts of courage and heroism did you find as you studied what happened? What were they? Give some examples.
  • What heroic attributes do you see reflected in the particular moment you selected? Are they positive or negative qualities?
  • Do you think you would have acted the same way under this circumstance? Why, or why not?

Part One: Heroes of 9/11

In this section you will identify the qualities of a hero based on primary sources consisting of the testimony of people who were present at 9/11. Using the worksheet “What Makes a Hero?” navigate to the 9/11 Timeline, to time stamp 9:15 a.m. “Evacuation of the World Trade Center.” Study the character attributes of those who share their stories in the text and webcasts in this time stamp. […]

Enter words and phrases from your research that you think can be associated with heroes and the qualities of heroes in the chart provided on the worksheet.

  • Compose one or two paragraphs explaining why the words you circled and entered in the chart describe or define heroes. Point out what these qualities may have in common. Discuss briefly whether or not these are qualities you think you possess.

Part Two: Memorializing and Remembrance

In this section you will study different ways to memorialize tragic events and their heroes and victims. Refer to the worksheet, “Memorializing” in order to analyze both the mission of the 9/11 Memorial and the different ways to commemorate heroes and pay tribute to victims. Explore the following examples of memorializing and commemorating:

Related: In discussing the aspects that make a hero, read Gen. Kelly’s “Veterans Day Speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis,” in which he recounts the heroic actions of two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, who, in 2008, gave their lives protecting other Marines at Joint Security Station Nasser in Iraq. As you read the above accounts, consider: what can the rest of us learn from these heroic examples? What is the best way to honor their service and sacrifice?

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