Teaching young people about 9/11

Keeping the 9/11 memory alive

HUEYTOWN, Ala. (WBRC) - Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001.

But how do you stress the importance of this day to students who weren’t alive during this time?

Aiesha Pretlow teaches government and economics to seniors at Hueytown High School.

None of her students were alive when 9/11 happened, so for many of them, this day is just another bad day in history.

Ms. Pretlow said her students are pretty familiar with what happened on September 11, 2001, but she said they are emotionally separated from how it really impacted our country.

She wanted them to understand how all Americans felt on this day 19 years ago.

So, she gathered real stories from people who were there when the twin towers fell, and first responders who ran toward the danger as others scrambled to get away.

She then created an assignment which forced students to put themselves in their shoes and decide how they would have reacted.

“We have been in a predicament where it’s hard for some of our kids to understand with social media that we are one United States because of what they see every day, and they truly at the end get an understanding that it didn’t matter where you came from, your background that we were there for each other. So a lot of them have a profound understanding now that it’s beyond just us and our small little community,” Ms. Pretlow explained.

Ms. Pretlow said during their online discussion, students reflected on whether they would have the courage to help others in that situation, if something like this were to happen today.

She said the assignment helped pull them out of the mindset that this was just an event that happened in the past.

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