9/11 not a memory, but history lesson for many students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

9/11 not a memory, but history lesson for many students


The September 11, 2001 terror attacks were the focus of many history classes in eastern Iowa schools Tuesday.

High schoolers now were only toddlers or kindergartners when the attacks happened.  While they have little or no memories of what happened on 9/11, they want to learn everything they can about the day that's shaped how we all live.

The images of planes striking the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and crashing into a Pennsylvania field are ingrained in many of our memories.  But for a roomful of Hudson high-schoolers, it's a history lesson.

"Still to this day, I don't know why it happened.  I've got a lot of questions about it," said student Antwain Strong.

Only a few in the classroom can even recall how they first learned about 9/11.

"I was in Miss Sikula's art class and we were all sitting at the tables.  She was rushing over to the television and turning it on.  We were all sitting there wondering what was happening," said student Luke Huber.

"As an entire school, we went outside and watched the flag get lowered to half mast," said student Jason Hawkins.

What's clear in the aftermath of that day, the students have grown accustomed to how the world's changed since 9/11:  from heightened airport security to American troops at war.

"It seems like we're desensitized since almost three thousand people died then and it was a horrible occurrence.  Whereas today, we just assume that it happens and that it's going to keep happening," Hawkins said.

History teacher Paul Simmer served in the military post-9/11 and knows as we get further removed in time from the attacks, it only gets more important to set time aside to teach about the significance of that day.

"When our country goes through an event like September 11th, it does become a defining moment in our recent history, and that shapes how we go about business into the future.  And so for the students, when I try to break it down, they can better understand that when they go through events in their own lives, they know how to appreciate things and how to take it," Simmer said.

And the students' perspective does indicate 9/11 will always be a reminder that life is short, and to never take one day for granted

As homework, Hudson history students are being asked to write a reflection on 9/11, answering some tough questions about who they feel is to blame and lessons that can be learned from the terror attacks.


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