Remembering 9/11

Wow. Today was emotionally draining. September Eleventh was such a surreal day, and I’m sure we all have our personal recollections. After the initial immersion of news and information about 9/11, I began to remove myself from the actual event. I could only take so much, really. Even the movies about Flight 93 and the first responders seemed too… surreal. Teaching 9/11 as a historical event today shed a different light on it, and reminded me of some significant lessons we learned from it. At least, those worth sharing with students in a 40 minutes lesson:

  • The timeline of events. So many students didn’t realize the what/where/when/who of the attacks.
  • The reasons for the attacks. Much of this is political, but the very basic fact of 9/11 being a very public salvo of Osama bin Laden’s holy war cannot be ignored. As Mr. Safranski stated: “students know more about OBL’s killing, than why he was killed.”
  • How many children were affected by the attacks. Nearly 3,000 children were orphaned as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
  • How we remember 9/11, the people we lost, and the amount of support and love united this nation in the hours and weeks which followed 9/11.
  • The need to talk to parents and families about this. So many of you share personal stories and reflections that I cannot begin to discuss. Please, take some time and discuss your memories of 9/11 and

A few songs to remember 9/11 by. The first is Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” a song about a NY Firefighter who gave his last painful breaths for his fellow New Yorkers. The second is Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” a pretty powerful reminder about how I, personally, felt on 9/11.

And finally, a few links which provide a plethora of information.


20 thoughts on “Remembering 9/11

  1. Nora Laban

    Dear Mr. Little
    I am Nora Laban from 3rd period social studies. You were talking about the Muslims in Michigan going crazy and so I want to give you an idea of what I am like. I am an Arab living in America. I have an “Americanized” sort of name only because Americans dont know how to say it. My parents are really sad about 9/11. My dad explained the day when everyone stopped working and was just on the news. Those people called terrorist from Saudi Arabia came and made this whole mess. I want to say that i dont want people getting a bad picture about Islam. Those people who did what they did to me or not considered “Muslims”. They are not even considered Christians or Jews because Muslims Christians and Jews are way better then those people. Those people dont even deserve to be in any religioun. Being an Arab Muslim living in America is very hard because some people think I or my friends are crazy just because of the way we look the way we act. My friends have people at school asking them hey do you have a bomb in your locker. It’s very crazy. But some people think that Arabs are all terrorists especially Muslims. Muslims are just like any religious group in this world. We Muslims believe what those Saudi Arabian people was wrong. To kill all those innocent people. All we can do is pray for those mothers that have cried on that day for them to have pateints for God is the Al Knowing and The All Hearing. I hope that everyone who reads this post gets another picture about Islam. We are not terrorists. We are only people who want peace in the world regardless of what religioun you are.

    Thank you
    Nora Laban

  2. Amy Van Geertry

    Hi Mr. Little
    I just watched the movie “Flight 93” it is so sad but I thought it was very brave and a heroic thing to do for your country.
    My Mom and Dad were saying that, if the passengers didn’t do take over the plane and crash it, then the goverenment as we know it would sink like the Titanic.
    The first time I learned about the 9/11 attack I was scared and did’nt understand a lot, but now about 6 years later it makes more sense.
    I learned…
    1) Appreciate life because one day it could be all gone.
    2) In a situation like 9/11 there were a lot of stories of people giving their lives for people they didn’t even know, I would also try to help anyone else in need too.
    3) Etc…

    Have a nice weekend,
    Amy Van Geertry p.7

  3. Caroline Grannan

    Dear Mr. Little,
    I was watching the news this morning and saw a lot of clips from 9/11. I was 2 on 9/11. I completely remember my mom watching the news and her expression. She got teary eyed and all i was doing was watching the twin towers burn down as the planes crashed right in to them. The news station played the clips over and over. I believe my dad was at work and when he came home for dinner there was so many people talking in hushed tones. Now that I can understand, I think that the people that suffered that day shouldn’t have. It was a horrible day for all of them. The firefighters and rescuers were the angels that day. I learned so much from 9/11. I learned to help people in need. Respect everyone for who they are, and never forget that we are all one big family in the USA.

    See you in 3rd period,
    Caroline Grannan

  4. Cannon Brackett

    Hi Mr. Little. I went to church on Saturday and the mass was dedicated to the men and women that have lost their lives in various wars, including 9/11. We also sang God Bless America. It was a very patriotic service. My brother also watched a lot of 9/11 videos and I learned that there was one survivor on the floor that the plane crashed. It was sad to hear about all the people that died and how their families have had to continue without them. Thank you for sharing this important lesson in our history. My Mom had told me about a story she heard earlier this week. The firefighter being iinterviewed was affraid the schools were not teaching the young kids about 9/11. She was happy to see that our schools have not forgotten. My Mom also shared that she was at work on 9/11. She was driving to a meeting at Resurrection Hospital. On her drive, she usually sees many airplanes crossing over the road to land at O’Hare. On the way back to her hospital, she was said it was amazing to see how quiet the skies were after they had grounded all the planes.

    See you monday Cannon

  5. Vishal Sorakayala

    Hello Mr. Little
    I just watched this video on Chicago Tribune.
    It was really sad. You could see how scared the people were and the debris,the explosions, the general fear… My dad goes on business trips to New York every now and then. If he had been in New York that day… It frightens me to think that these people, these terrorist, will stop at nothing to hurt people, not even to save their own lives…

  6. Hi Mr. Little
    Todday is 9/11. I would also like to say it is President Bashar Al Assad’s Brithday (president of Syria). People in Syria including our family and friends in America want Bashar Al Assad to end this regime, step down, and give the people of Syria their freedom. This is a very important event to me. I hope that this will be Bashar Al Assad’s last brithday. Innocent pople are being killed in Syria just like how innocent people died on 9/11. I pray that Bashar Al assad step down and we will get back what he took from us Syrians. Our freedom.

    Thank you
    Nora Laban

  7. Karina

    Hi Mr. Little,

    It’s been a long and emotional weekend for my family and the rest of the U.S.. Although it has been very difficult to read about and to see documentaries and pictures of 9/11, both my family and I feel there is an obligation for every soul in our country to learn about this day. This act of war on our country was not about religion, but rather extreme hatred fueled by those who abused their so-called authority. While the events of that day were extraordinarily shocking and painful, it was also a day where hatred was overcome by love, care, understanding, and sacrifice.

    Despite the challenges our country faces now, we should be reassured based upon our history that we, as a people, can and always will rise above dischord and intolerance. Each of us can and should play an important role in promoting peace and a better future by respecting all ethnicities, races, and religions. I believe we must teach each other about our diverse backgrounds in order to embrace our differences and stand up to those who will try to cause harm. Strong bonds between all people are the basis for an even stronger country. In the words of a famous song, “I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free” (i.e. free to be good, to do good, and live life unselfishly).

    Here are a couple of interesting websites to see for more information about 9/11:

    Have a nice weekend,


  8. Beth Vetter

    Hi Mr. Little-
    I was reading an article on 9/11 in the Chicago Tribune about how 9/11 made us realize that people hate us. The reporter, John Kass stated that, “If someone dared tell us to our face that we were afraid, we’d remind them of what happened to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and then we’d think about giving them a fat lip.” My grandparents were stuck in Las Vagas and we tried to get them home as soon as possible. I was Talking about what we learned in your class on friday about that Avf0(i think that’s what it was) and my dad said that he was driving past O’Hear on his way home and it was different not hearing the usual planes he was used to. He also told me that the people that landed the plane in Pennsylvina were conidered heros because that plane could’ve hit the Sears Tower. My mom was at work at the time and everyone in her office were on their computers watching that tragic event happen. I learned alot since i was 2, but I will never forget the people that died in that event and those who died on the planes.

  9. Zack Wascher

    Hi Mr. Little ,
    I’m Zack Wascher from your 3rd period class. Last night my family and I watched a TV special “Voices from 911: on the history channel. I have watched many specials on the towers falling down and all of the poor people who have died but this if the first program that was entirely made from phone messages left on loved ones phones by people trapped in the buildings. It was really really sad hearing these people say their good-byes knowing that they will soon die. What made this program extra special is that our next door neighbor’s brother’s message was on the program. He was the only one on the program to make it out alive, in fact he was the last survivor out of South Tower. It really hit home seeing him talk and hearing his story. I’m glad he’s OK and next time he visits I can’t wait to talk to him.
    The story I remember my Mom telling, is that it was my brother’s 1st day of day care. She always took pictures of us on “1st days” and she has a picture of little Max already for day care with a little sign that said Max’s 1st day of day care. Who would have thought what a memorable day that would become.

  10. Brianna Imgruet

    Hi Mr. Little,

    At church today, the priest’s sermon was about having an open heart. We need to treat everyone the same no matter what their race or religion is. Here are some things that I heard this weekend and think about: Can we see the beauty in evey person we meet? Can we treat others with kindness and compassion?
    * You should never take thinks for granted
    * Life is not always fair
    * Make the most of everyday you have with everyone, especially your family and friends.
    * Love always wins over hatred.
    * We are always at a certain place at a certain time for a reason.

    I know there are still people in the world that hate us, but I hope we never have anything like 9/11 happen again. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be someone that has lost someone in 9/11

    See you tomorrow,
    Brianna Imgruet

  11. madison smith

    Hello Mr. Little,
    I was watching the news this morning and there was a special about 9/11. They were describing about how people lost their lives and how devastating everything was and how the daily lives of others were completely changed. For example, how people lost their loved ones, and how they didn’t deserve any of that. I asked my mom what happened when she heard about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. She said that she was dropping me off at my grandmas’ house to go to work. When the first plane crashed, she didn’t know about it at all. But when she got home, my grandma had the TV on and my mom watched the 2nd plane crash. She said it was a very sad moment and that everyone was scared because they didn’t know what was going to happen next. They didn’t know if there would be an attack in Chicago or anywhere else. Just by what she told me, I understood that it was a very depressing day, not only for the people who witnessed it ,or was in the actual buildings or planes, but for the people who were scared. And didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was a day that America will always remember. A day that changed so many lives that didn’t need to be changed.

    See you in 2nd period,
    Madison Smith

  12. Payton Froats

    Dear Mr.Little

    My thoughts….

    -Why would someone be so hateful and wanna attack so many people..It’s something that I would never let anyone get of the hook for it…
    -How did we not ketch these People… There were some French people of something that told us that something like this was going to happen…. Why didn’t we listen to them????

    I feel so so so bad for all of this people who lost someone that they knew or loved….

    I was watching a couple shows today and I would cry to each one that I watched because I had so many emotions mad, sad, upset, I can’t even name anything, because your speechless to it all…

    Last thing I want to say, is that I am so glad that u did not join the army because of that day…because then I wouldn’t have u as my s.studies teacher…….

    Payton Froats

  13. Kevin Gibbons

    hi mr little
    I’m Kevin Gibbons from your 7th period class, i watched “Heroes of the 88th Floor.” I learned that two men on 9/11, Frank De Martini and Pueblo Ortiz, saved 88 people in the North Tower. The men saved the 88th floor and kept going up floors and saved 61 people through floor 91. then they started going down evacuating floors 87-71 in half an hour. They reached the sky lobby and noticed the building was about to fall. So they kept evacuating floors going down. The building collapsed and Pueblo and Frank were never found. there were so many brave men and women on that day. Pueblo and Frank, the passengers on flight 93 and our firefighters, cops and volunteers who helped sort through the ruble. I hope the memorial is great and God bless America.

  14. Jared Gonzales

    Mr.Little I’ve learned a lot from 9/11. One thing is who did this did not think this through because they messed with the wrong people in the USA. Ever since this happened air ports have gotten more secure incase this happened again. Also, the people in the White House should be happy that Flight 93 was taken down since they thought the plane was aimed for the White House. If this didn’t happen they wouldn’t have to send all those people to Iraq and Afghanistan. Also all those soldiers wouldn’t have died and their families won’t be devastated.

    I will see you tomorrow
    Jared Gonzales

  15. Gisselle

    Hi Mr. Little,
    In the past couple days I learned a lot about nine eleven. i know that everyone feels horrible about this but i have thought a lot about the events and i realized, “how would I feel if my parents left and never came back along with a lot of other well known family and friends?” i believe this is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the U.S. because the people who died didn’t have a choice whether to fight for their lives or not. they didn’t have that option to save themselves and unlike army soliders, they didn’t choose to risk their lives. they had a family and people who cared about them and they never had the chance to say goodbye. some of the victims bodies weren’t identified yet and weren’t buried and said goodbye to with true respect since of course they didn’t know about the people’s life or accomplishments. this is sad and i would never want to die that way. i would want my body to be respected and recognized. in all i wish the best for all those i affected by these events, big or small. everyone who died is respected and loved and so are the family members of these people. they deserve all respect possible because no matter what they have done, they all have had a hard time and deserve kindness.
    thank you for listening,

  16. Nick Paskvan

    Hi Mr. Little
    I’m Nick Paskvan from 3rd period. I was watching a CBS special “9/11 Then and Now 10 Years” In the special it showed all of the devistating moments of the planes hitting and the towers collapsing. This special concentrated on the fireman and first responders, I learned that the toxic dust from the buildings caused a lot of firemen to lose almost 12 years of lung capacity in 1 year. This means firemen sacrificed their lives to save others and then their fellow firemen spent days looking for people while getting poisened by the air they were breathing in. In the special, it said the fear now is that 10 years later, will more die from the toxic air people had to breathe? It showed firemen who died of cancer years later and their doctors believed was caused by this toxic air. It was the start of a war between the terrorists who killed a lot of innocent people who didn’t do anything and the USA. When the second tower got hit thats when people started saying “America is under attack.” Hopefully we can recover from this tragedy that happened 10 years ago.

    See you tommorow
    Nick Paskvan

  17. Daniel Piccoli

    Hello, Mr. Little.
    I remember being at a babysitter’s house, watching the horror unfold. I told my mom about the big columns of smoke when she picked me up. My father was at S.W.A.T. training. I believe 9/11 was truly a living nightmare. So many innocent civilians lost their lives, and so many more were affected by this. It upsets me that anyone would want to do this to people who have done nothing to deserve it. To forever remember, we have constructed a monument near the sacred ground of the wreckage. It was released yesterday, exactly when one of the towers fell. Over the previous summer, I visited New York and saw the monument being built, one piece at a time.

    See you later today,
    Daniel Piccoli

  18. Megan Unsicker

    Hi Mr. Little,

    Last night I watched something called 9/11 as it Happened. It was an actual live news report from 9/11. while we were watching I had a lot of questions, more than i thought i would have, so I asked my dad. One question in particular that I thought you would find interesting is; Why did the buildings fall straight down on top of themselves instead of tipping over? Well, my dad said that Osama was smart and did his research on the World Trade Center and the fire from the plane actually melted the steel structure of the building so it wasn’t even strong enough to fall over so instead it fell down on its self. Another thing was that when the first plane hit everyone didn’t know if it was an accident or not. Once the second pane hit they realized it was no accident. When the towers fell it was tragic to watch, I can’t even imagine how those people standing there watching felt. The dust cloud went on for miles. What a tragic event.

    See you in homebase,

    Megan Unsicker

  19. Gillian Rustik

    Hi Mr. Little,

    We watched, as a family, the 9/11 memorial services yesterday and the programs throughout the day. It was so sad to see all the families who lost parents/children in NY, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. It was comforting to see President Obama and President Bush at the Memorial in NYC – I’m sure it was comforting to the families and it showed the world that we are a strong nation. Terrorism will not win. The most heartbreaking program I believe was the program featuring the children of 9/11 – those who lost dads or moms (the police/firefighters). It was too sad for my mom to watch. She had to leave the room.

    At church this weekend, the priest said that we should always remember 9/11, but now focus on 9/12 as a day of hope. I hope the world can do that. I know our nation will.

    Gillian – 4th period Social Studies

  20. Avan Avila

    Dear Mr. Little,

    I watched 911 coverage with my family all weekend. We watched the movie flight 93, the history channel, and news coverage. I think if I was older and on flight 93 I would have fought back too. My mom told me where we all were when the attacks were happening. She told us bad men flew planes into the building. I don’t really remember it. I was just 3 years old.

    I hope we are doing the right things as a country to prevent this from happening again. It was shocking to see people jumping out of buildings.

    Avan Avila

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