September 11, 2014 In Remembrance of the 13th Anniversary of the Terrorist Attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Department of Social Sciences
THE SCHOOL BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, Chair Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman, Vice-Chair Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall Ms. Susie V. Castillo Mr. Carlos L. Curbelo Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway Dr. Martin Karp Dr. Marta Pérez Ms. Raquel A. Regalado
Bringing 9/11 Into the Classroom 13 Years Later - Tips on Teaching About the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
Background Information on the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks
Web Links - Additional Background Information on the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks
Links to Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities About the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
Elementary Lesson Plan (K-5) - The Survivor Tree
Secondary Lesson Plan (Grades 6-12) - Remembering 9/11: 13 Years Later
THE HISTORY OF PATRIOT DAY, SEPTEMBER 11th In the United States, each September 11th is designated as Patriot Day in memory of those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the tragic events which changed all our lives in both subtle and dramatic ways.
On Patriot Day, the President directs that the flag of the United States be flown at half mast in American homes, at the White House, and on all United States government buildings and establishments, home and abroad. The President also asks Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m., marking the time of the first plane crash on September 11, 2001. A presidential proclamation is also issued each year in honor of Patriot Day. In his 2013 Patriot Day proclamation, President Barack Obama stated: “Twelve years ago this month, nearly three thousand innocent men, women, and children lost their lives in attacks meant to terrorize our Nation. They had been going about their day, harming no one, when sudden violence struck. We will never undo the pain and injustice borne that terrible morning, nor will we ever forget those we lost.
On September 11, 2001, amid shattered glass, twisted steel, and clouds of dust, the spirit of America shone through. We remember the sacrifice of strangers and first responders who rushed into darkness to carry others from danger. We remember the unbreakable bonds of unity we felt in the long days that followed -- how we held each other, how we came to our neighbors' aid, how we prayed for one another. We recall how Americans of every station joined together to support the survivors in their hour of need and to heal our Nation in the years that followed.
Today, we can honor those we lost by building a Nation worthy of their memories. Let us also live up to the selfless example of the heroes who gave of themselves in the face of such great evil. As we mark the anniversary of September 11, I invite all Americans to observe a National Day of Service and Remembrance by uniting in the same extraordinary way we came together after the attacks. Like the Americans who chose compassion when confronted with cruelty, we can show our love for one another by devoting our time and talents to those in need. I encourage all Americans to visit www.Serve.gov, or www.Servir.gov for Spanish speakers, to find ways to get involved in their communities.
As we serve and remember, we reaffirm our ties to one another. On September 11, 2001, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. May the same be said of us today, and always.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day," and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized "National Day of Service and Remembrance."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2013, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.”
While thirteen years have passed since the terrible events of September 11, 2001, all Americans, including the students in our schools, continue to struggle to understand what happened on that fateful day and why. Students must continue to examine the lessons of September 11th and how the attacks affected our nation’s security and place in the world. It is strongly suggested that schools develop a short commemorative program which incorporates a moment of silence in the memory of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
National Day of Service and Remembrance - September 11, 2014 September 11 was officially established as a National Day of Service and Remembrance by Federal Law in 2009. The day provides a way for all Americans to honor not only those who lost their lives in this tragedy, but also to honor those who came together under a spirit of unity to help and serve in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.
On the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Americans will unite in service in the same remarkable way that so many came together following the attacks.
As in years past, we anticipate service and remembrance activities in all 50 states, at which there will be opportunities for hundreds of thousands of volunteers to paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, spruce up schools, reclaim neighborhoods, and support and honor veterans, soldiers, military families, and first responders. To find opportunities to serve during this year’s September 11th Day of Service, see the links below.
This year, Patriot Day falls on a school day. All schools, teachers, and students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools are encouraged to support the National Day of Service and Remembrance by participating in service activities during the following weekend. Senior high schools may opt to provide community service credit for participating students.
Links: Site for the National Day of Service and Remembrance –
http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/september-11th-national-day-service-and-remembrance Toolkits for Organizing Service Activities - http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/toolkits The National September 11 Memorial Museum
In Memoriam: Memorial Exhibition About the Museum The National September 11 Memorial Museum serves as the country’s principal institution for examining the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring the continuing significance of September 11, 2001.
The Museum’s 110,000 square feet of exhibition space is located within the archaeological heart of the World Trade Center site - telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. The lives of every victim of the 2001 and 1993 attacks will be commemorated as visitors have the opportunity to learn about the men, women, and children who died.
The monumental artifacts of the Museum provide a link to the events of 9/11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery that are central to telling the story of the attacks and the aftermath.
The Museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened to the public on May 21, 2014.
The Museum’s Mission The mission of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, located at the World Trade Center site, is to bear solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The Museum honors the nearly 3,000 victims of these attacks and all those who risked their lives to save others. It further recognizes the thousands who survived and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath. Demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and its impact on communities at the local, national, and international levels, the Museum attests to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and affirms an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life.
Question and Answers with Museum Director Alice Greenwald Why is this museum called a “Memorial Museum”?
Memorial museums are museums where educational exhibitions and public programs
take place within the context of a memorial environment, typically commemorating
events of tragic and global or national significance. The 9/11 Memorial Museum tells the individual stories of the 2,977 people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the
World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on Flight 93, as well as the six people who
perished in the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In our historical
exhibition, we present the story of those attacks and particularly, the events as they
unfolded on and after 9/11.
The Museum conveys that those events are part of an ongoing story, one that began
long before September 11, 2001, and continues to shape our world today. As a place of
memory and learning, situated within the archaeological heart of the World Trade
Center, the Museum aspires to educate the millions expected to visit the site each year,
in hopes of building a better future and demonstrating the transformational potential of
What has informed the planning process for the Museum?
Years of planning and input have helped to inform the design of the Museum. In 2004,
the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation—which sponsored the international
9/11 Memorial design competition that chose Michael Arad and Peter Walker’s
“Reflecting Absence” design—convened key stakeholders to help provide direction for
an eventual museum. Their recommendations gave foundational guidance to 9/11
Memorial Museum planners.
Beginning in 2006, a Museum Planning Conversation Series has brought together
representatives of different constituent groups - family members of victims, first
responder agencies, lower Manhattan residents, survivors, landmark preservationists,
and government officials - several times each year to offer their recommendations for,
and responses to, the evolving Museum plans. Scholars and cultural advisors have
been consulted regularly, and the Museum’s exhibitions and planned visitor experience
have been developed by a team of curators, historians, educators, professional media
developers, and exhibit designers. The Program Committee of the 9/11 Memorial’s
Board of Directors, which includes a number of 9/11 family members, has provided
ongoing, critical oversight of the design and content of the Museum.
What history is covered in the Museum?
The Museum tells the story of 9/11, chronicling the events of the day, exploring the
historical context leading up to them (including the February 26, 1993 bombing of the
World Trade Center), and examining the aftermath, beginning in the days and weeks
immediately following the attacks. The Museum also considers a range of questions
and issues arising from the 9/11 attacks that continue to define the world in which we
live. In addition, in an area adjacent to visible remnants of original structural columns
from the Twin Towers, an exhibition covers the history of the construction of the
original World Trade Center.
Why is the primary exhibition space located below ground?
Because of the events that happened on 9/11, elements of what remained at the World
Trade Center site achieved landmark status and became subject to federal
preservation law. The 9/11 Memorial is, in fact, legally required to preserve the
authentic remnants of the original World Trade Center in the area known as bedrock,
and to provide meaningful public access to them.
These historic assets include what remains of the foundation slabs of the Twin Towers,
the remnants of the exterior structure of the towers known as “box columns,” and the
retaining wall originally built to keep the Hudson River from flooding the World Trade
Center site when it was first excavated, known as the “slurry wall.”
On 9/11, despite the devastation of the attacks and the collapse of two 110-story
buildings, the slurry wall - while challenged - held firm. Had it breached, lower
Manhattan and the subway lines that run through it might have been flooded,
and the destruction could have been even more unimaginable. In the original
master plan for the new World Trade Center, architect Daniel Libeskind felt that
the slurry wall, in its ability to withstand the forces of destruction, itself had
become a symbol of the strength and endurance of our country and its
Because of the obligation to make these archaeological elements meaningfully
accessible to the public, the Museum had to be placed where they could be
seen - at the bedrock level of the site, seven stories below ground. The authenticity of
this location becomes one of the characteristics of the 9/11 Memorial Museum that will
make it uniquely powerful. Where most museums are buildings that house artifacts, the
9/11 Memorial Museum will be a museum quite literally housed within an artifact.
What types of artifacts are included in the exhibitions?
The Museum displays artifacts of intimate to monumental scale - from a wide range
of personal items donated by victims’ families in memory of their loved ones to multiple
objects salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
Among the larger artifacts presented are the two forked steel beams known as
“tridents,” already visible through the Museum Pavilion’s glass atrium. Standing over
seven stories tall, these columns were once part of the original façade of the Twin
Towers. Now, they signify the power of the historical artifacts within the Museum.
In addition to the tridents, there are two FDNY fire trucks, an ambulance,structural
steel from the point of impact where Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower, and the
36--foot high Last Column, the last piece of structural steel to be removed from the
site at the end of the recovery effort in May 2002. The column is covered with
mementos, memorial inscriptions, and missing posters affixed by ironworkers, rescue
personnel, and others. During the ceremony that marked the end of the recovery
period, the Last Column was laid on a flatbed truck, draped with an American flag and
escorted from the site by honor guard. In the Museum’s Foundation Hall, it stands tall
again, exemplifying the foundations of resilience, hope, and community with which we
will build our collective future.
Source:The National September 11 Memorial Museum http://www.911memorial.org/museum For a virtual tour of the Museum, visit http://www.wired.com/2014/05/watch-a-tour-inside-the-new-911-museum/ The tour is on the Wired website.
Bringing 9/11 Into the Classroom—13 Years Later
Today’s high school students were in pre-school or early elementary school when the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2001. Today’s elementary students were not yet born. Even though students have often heard the term “9/11” and associate it with terrorist attacks, it doesn’t mean that they have great knowledge about the events of that day. What students understand and believe about the events of 9/11 is based on what they have heard at home, in school, and from the media.
As we approach the anniversary of September 11th, students will be seeing and hearing more about the events of that fateful day. Television programing will feature film of the day’s events and its aftermath. Students will be presented with images of terror and grief. Educators and parents need to be ready to help students.
With that in mind, Teaching Tolerance* offers the following tips for educators as the anniversary approaches:
Whether schools opt simply to memorialize the victims or decide to turn the anniversary into a teachable moment, one thing is clear: It’s going to be complicated. Educators bringing 9/11 into the classroom, particularly during the anniversary, need to be skilled and sensitive.
Children need to feel safe.For younger children especially, discussion of the day should include messages of reassurance that they are safe. Talk about the fact that the attack was shocking because it was unusual, and that nothing like it has happened since then in the United States. Emphasize stories of heroic and selfless actions rather than stories about victims.
Involve families. Work with the PTSA to get the word out to parents to monitor closely what’s on television, and remind them that scenes of violence can lead to anxiety in vulnerable children.
Understand how wide the 9/11 impact has been.Children across the country—not just those in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania—have been personally affected by the events and aftermath of 9/11. Consider whether your students include:
Children of military personnel, who are already anxious about their parents’ wellbeing;
Children who have lost a military parent in Iraq or Afghanistan;
Children whose parents are firefighters, police officers and other first-responders;
Children whose families have come from countries where terrorism is much more common; and
Children vulnerable to anxiety or depression.
Be aware of what children know and think about 9/11.Even though they don’t remember the day, students will have a narrative in their heads about what happened. It’s the rare family that will have ignored 9/11. The narrative however, might be long on opinion and short on details. If you are going to teach older students about the day or its consequences, be prepared to confront some strongly felt beliefs calmly.
Anticipate questions. For many children, this anniversary may be the first time they’ve really talked about 9/11 in school. They will have questions, many of which cannot be easily answered. Plan ahead by meeting with other teachers to brainstorm likely questions and to decide what’s age-appropriate.
It’s not enough to remember.Many communities will memorialize those killed on 9/11 and the men and women who have been casualties in the resulting wars. Educators need to go beyond memorializing to create lessons that help students make sense of the world and be agents of positive change.
There is no dearth of ways to teach about 9/11. Here are some of the topics we think are worth exploring.
Teach about Islam to dispel stereotypes and help children understand that not all Muslims are terrorists—and not all terrorists are Muslim.
Explore the nature of terrorism with high school students. There is no one definition of the word terrorism, even in the international community. Present students with two or three cases of terrorism (e.g. 9/11, the attacks in Norway and Irish Republican Army attacks during “the troubles”) and challenge them to find the commonalities.
Examine the ways in which stressful events put pressure on civil liberties and rights. During wartime, societies often reduce liberties—think of the Japanese-American internment during World War II, the imposition of martial law during the Civil War and passage of the Patriot Act in 2001—to gain security. Help students see that these changes need not be permanent, mainly because dissenters rise up to restrictions on liberty.
Develop historical thinking by exploring the consequences of 9/11. Help students see that the attacks themselves and the response to them have led to, among other things, two wars, a shift in national priorities, mistrust of Muslims and renewed arguments about the limits of religious tolerance.
Most important, let’s keep in mind the role education plays in healing. We teach to help children recognize and overcome the hatreds, challenges and fear that—along with the ash and sorrow—became embedded in our lives thirteen years ago.
Tips from: Maureen Costello, Director Teaching Tolerance*
*Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. http://www.tolerance.org/about
Background Information on the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks Overview On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four jet airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Often referred to as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. The victims included more than 400 police officers and firefighters. The attacks triggered major U.S. initiatives at home and abroad to combat world-wide terrorism and to ensure the safety of American citizens.
The Events On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact tore through the building near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in the floors above. Eighteen minutes later, as the evacuation of the north tower and its twin got underway, television cameras focused on a second Boeing 767 – United Airlines Flight 175 – as it turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and crashed into the south tower near the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. No longer believing that an accident had occurred, Americans now knew we were under attack.
The 19 attackers were Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Financed by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist organization, they were allegedly acting in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War, and its continued military presence in the Middle East. Some of the terrorists had lived in the United States for more than a year and had taken flying lessons at commercial flight schools. Others had slipped into the country in the months before the attack. The 19 terrorists smuggled box-cutters and knives through security at three East Coast airports and boarded four flights bound for California, chosen because the planes were loaded with fuel for the long transcontinental journey. Soon after takeoff, the terrorists commandeered the four planes and took the controls, transforming the jets into guided missiles.
As millions of Americans watched the events in New York City, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and crashed into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:37 a.m. Jet fuel from the Boeing 757 caused a inferno that led to the collapse of a portion of the giant concrete building. In total, 125