9/11 observance a lesson in history for Center-Stanton students
By Annette Tait
Most students in preschool through twelfth grade hadn’t even been born when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Those who were born before Sept. 11, 2001, were too young to have their own memories of the fear that wracked our nation and the resurgence of pride and determination that followed.
Center-Stanton students gathered last Friday to learn about the events of 9/11 and how their nation and their state responded, and to pay tribute to the fallen. During a brief commemorative presentation, Center-Stanton Elementary Principal Kathy Bullinger used age-appropriate descriptions – a difficult task when speaking to students of such diverse ages -- to provide a brief overview of the events of 9/11 while sharing photographs from “One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001.”
Bullinger began by telling the students about the planes hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the passengers overpowering terrorists to crash the fourth plane in a Pennsylvania field instead allowing it to reach its intended target, the White House. She added explanations when needed for the younger students, to help them understand the significance of places such as the Pentagon and their importance to our nation.
Bullinger also recounted how, when she heard the first reports of a plane crashing into a building in New York City, she thought it might be an accident. Instead, nearly 3,000 innocent people died and more than 6,000 were injured, either in the four plane crashes or due to their aftermath.
“We, as Americans, didn’t know what that’s like [being attacked],” Bullinger told the assembled students. “We were scared.
“But in the weeks after, our nation became very proud, we came together to honor people who had died.”
Bullinger connected the resulting war, Enduring Freedom, with North Dakota National Guard soldiers and how students might know people who fought during that war. She also explained how, even after the attacks, people felt nervous and worried about the unknown.
“None of that happened here in North Dakota,” Bullinger said, “but we could see it on TV.”