Twenty-one years: the number years since that dreadful day that has forever tainted the date of September 11. Twenty-one, the number of years since our world was shaken, and our feeling of security forever taken away. Our children have been growing up in a world with lockdowns and safety drills. However, they do not remember that day or the societal changes. They were not born, most of their parents just children themselves. As we have learned, when we do not learn from history, it repeats, making it imperative for us to teach our children about that day. Following the 21st anniversary of 9/11, and just after Yom Kippur, our holiday to remember and strive to work on being better people, the eighth grade Yeshiva of Central Queens students headed out for their yearly trip to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Students learned about this day in their social studies class with their teacher Mrs. Melissa Meisel. They each chose a name of a person who lost his or her life when the towers collapsed and traced their names that are etched into the parapets surrounding the memorial pools, to help them make a personal connection. They then entered the memorial, where they saw through various forms of media as well as artifacts that survived, that helped those in attendance understand the fear, the pain, and most importantly, see the unity and support that came following the worst terrorist attack on US soil ever.
The students saw videos of people watching the towers fall, they read and listened to personal stories, and they saw burnt-out fire trucks and steel beams from the actual Twin Towers. Every room brought new meaning and a deeper understanding.
When most students think about a school field trip, the first thing that comes to mind is hanging out with friends and having fun. It was nice to see that inside the walls of the memorial, students remained solemn and serious, but when outside staring out over the water, with bridges and the Statue of Liberty staring back, they could laugh and enjoy their time with friends, just being kids.