Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9/11

I've been finding it hard to write this post -- 9/11.

I have opened this page many times and stared at the screen over and over.

I guess today is the day. 

After 14 years, 9/11 is still so close in my heart, thoughts, and memories.
I was 3000 miles away that day, and yet, there is pain that hurts deeply.
 I know I share this pain with so many.

Maybe part of the closeness I feel is that I experienced my first (and only) trip to NYC just 3 years earlier.   We stayed at the Marriott, and I remember walking through one of the towers. 
It all seems so surreal, still.


This is the first year I really had any discussion with my First Graders about 9/11.  My thoughts over the years have been, 'How would they understand or be able to comprehend this? It's just better to protect from the horror of it all."

This year was different, though. 
We had a flag raising ceremony on 9/11, and guest speakers -- a marine, airman, and police officer all spoke to the students and staff about what it means to them to be a patriot. 
It was moving and uplifting, and yet, a touch of somberness could be felt among the crowd of adults.

My kids came back to the room with questions.
Some had seen pictures at home, and there had been some discussion.

So we talked. 
I showed them a short, 5 minute video.
That was enough.
My heart ached for them.  Who could understand?

There were tears, and I found myself holding one of my little girls close.
Her heart was broken. 

Then we talked more.
I shared with them how people come together in times like this.
I told them how people help others they don't even know, and yes, there were those
who sacrificed their lives to save others.

Someone said, "Like Sophia and Erick."
"Yes", I said, "Like Sophia and Erick."

The last part of our talk was soothing and we were able to find a way to be uplifted.

During this same week, I started my unit on the Constitution with my First Graders.
As a bonus project, they could make a patriotic poster and bring it to school to share.

This picture was the response. I was overwhelmed with their participation and delighted as they brought in their projects to share.  Our wall is filled!

One poster caught my attention and curiosity.  As my little guy explained what it was, I had to stop and ask for clarification.  "The new World Trade Center One", he said. "They built it to take the place of the two that were destroyed." 
My heart sank.
I live 3000 miles away, and had not fully understood the project that was taking place in NYC.
I knew there was a memorial -- or many memorials. I had seen pictures of the ones that are at ground level where the towers stood, but obviously missed the constructing of a new tower.
There it stood before me in his poster.
I felt chills and tears rolled down my cheeks.
His tender heart was evident, too.

I told him I loved the eagle soaring in front of it.
Such strength it gave his picture. 

That evening, I did some searching on World Trade Center 1.  
I was in awe.
It is a magnificent site.

I have no doubt that any of us will ever forget this day, or the days and years that follow.

I pray, we never experience anything like it again.  

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful post and photos, Annie. What great things you are doing with those little ones, and what great little people they are! I'm always thankful for the times I get to learn things from my students. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thank you, Emily. This was one of the most tender 9/11 experiences I have had in my classroom. Still stays with me everyday. Bless their hearts.

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