Updated: Oct 20
A perspective from FACS History Teacher
September 11, 2001 is a day that’s remembered in American history as one that changed everything for the citizens of the United States of America. On that morning, four commercial airliners were hijacked mid-flight by an organized militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The first plane hit its target, the North Tower of the World Trade Center, at 8:46 a.m. Seventeen minutes later, the second plane hit the South Tower. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon, and the fourth was flown in the direction of Washington, D.C., but ultimately was diverted from its intended target by brave passengers and crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn. The damage done was unimaginable. In a moment, the world was turned upside down, and this Saturday, we remember the attacks of 9/11 on its twentieth anniversary.
We understood our vulnerability but couldn’t comprehend the hate.
As a nation, it was the first time we understood that we were vulnerable and that there were others out there who despised us enough to do harm simply for who we were. No one living in America understood that kind of hate. This was not an act of war by a country for the various reasons that countries declare war; this was based on an ideology of hate that was incomprehensible. The U.S. is a melting pot with an open invitation to all. How could someone use that very invitation against us? It is still incomprehensible. Also, it was the first time we truly understood that not everyone valued freedom like we did. It shook us to our core.
To my fellow Americans who remember these events: It is up to us, the memory keepers of 9/11, to tell our stories so that we truly, “Never Forget.” Dr. Sherrie Hopper, First Assembly Christian School, Social Studies Chair
Life in America was changed. We cannot forget that.
Our eyes were opened to the evil that existed in the world, through a foreign attack on our own soil. Though it became and still is an earthshattering realization, what arose from the ashes of the tragedy that is 9/11 is the part of our history that we must never stop telling. America would not be shattered. We would rise above the tragedy, unified under one important label – humanity.
It was our love for one another.
It was our love for our fellow people that took us to blood banks, compelled us to take in strangers, to pray with one another, and to offer kind words. Strangers became friends and we united as one nation. It is that same love for one another that compelled first responders to run towards the fallen towers that day sacrificing it all. It was the epitome of loving our neighbor as ourselves. It was and still is in times like these where we see the evidence of God working.
Isaiah 61:3 “To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness.” While we may not be Israel, he kept his promise.
Through the stories of pain, there were stories of love, giving, kindness, and great sacrifice. Such pain and sorrow, answered with love. A new generation sits in the classroom who did not experience 9/11. Do you realize that not one person who sits in the classroom today has a memory of this event? It has become crystal clear how important this day was, and is, to teach. These students are faced with division, partisan fighting, and cynicism in their world. So much so, it is hard to find hope. The events of 9/11 are so important to teach not just for what we lost, but for what we gained.
We must remember that hope remains.
Students need to know that even when things look bleak, there is hope. We lost so much that day, but what we learned about ourselves is the lesson we must teach our children. There is hope, there is love, and there is triumph, even in the darkest hours. They need to know this now more than ever. Life forever changed that day, some of it was bad in the realization that not everyone loves us and that evil really exists. However, we also need to learn who we are as people and who God is even in the darkest storm. This is the lesson we need to teach our children today. We lose this lesson more and more every day.