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Friday, September 11, 2009

So what SHOULD be taught in schools about 9/11?
Posted by Jill | 5:49 AM
I just heard a report on one of the news radio stations that some people are complaining that schoolchildren aren't being taught enough about 9/11. And that got me thinking: What SHOULD we teach children about 9/11? Should we teach them about this:

or this:



Or this:

I'm not naïve enough to believe, given the whitewashed versions of much of U.S. history that most children receive in school, that we'll ever see children taught about how the President refused to take a briefing seriously because he was on vacation, or how he used the attacks as a pretext to go to war against a country that wasn't even involved in them. The Dick Cheney meme of "We kept the country safe for eight years", ignoring the one day when they didn't; the day it really counted, the day about which plenty of people like Richard Clarke and the two poor CIA saps who dared disturb George W. Bush on August 6, 2001 while he was on vacation warned them about.

So what's the best we can hope for? Studs Terkel isn't around anymore to do an oral history, but since we're going to get a rah-rah version of that day anyway, the comments at today's New York Times story, "Remembering a Future that Many Feared" is a good place to start.

A few choice excerpts:

"I remember in the days following 9/11, when ordinary people were showing up to help at Ground Zero, CBC News showed 4 guys in the back of a pickup truck on their way to GZ. One of them said, "Man, I'm getting tired of this . We should've gone after those s the last time."
When I heard this, I got the funny feeling that NYC (and the US) would be ok."

"When I think of Sept. 11th I think of all those lives lost, I especially think of two sisters that worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and died that day (I don't know them or their family, but something about them has always stayed with me), and I resolve to live my life to the fullest to reach out to family and friends, to enjoy life, to vote, to stay involved, to try and make the world a better place. When I gripe that I have too much work and not enough time in the day, sometimes those sisters come back to me and I tell myself no complaints, enjoy it, enjoy life."

"I remember watching the peace marches that happened only days after the 9/11 attacks. New Yorkers of all colors and ages, marching, chanting "Peace, Salaam, Shalom." I also saw the spontaneous debates and discussions that happened wherever people gather--parks, plazas, etc. They often got heated, but ended in a handshake and a deep appreciation for our Bill of Rights. Many saw a world in smoke and embers, a world burning. I saw a world healing, on the verge of breaking through to a new day, a new society, a new world community.

Then George W. Bush and the neo-cons got hold of things, and all we knew from then on was fear, fear, and more fear. The terror they sowed was rivaled only by the terror sown by the 9-11 hijackers themselves. Their culture of fear has persisted ever since, leading us to invade two foreign nations, embroil ourselves in legal/moral/ethical quandaries, and sow discord throughout the world (NOT just the Muslim world).

I still admire New Yorkers for their bravery, dignity, and courage in the face of the horrors inflicted upon them after 9-11. And I will never forgive the Bush administration from taking that away from them, and turning it into a political tool for achieving their foreign policy agenda. They turned the grief of American families into gold in their pockets, and into the grief of families in Iraq and Afghanistan. For that, they will be judged."

"It is true that New York has come back, but the post 9/11 New York is decidedly different from the pre-9/11 city it replaced. Gone is the swagger and confidence that the 1990’s economic boom instilled in us. Gone is the certainty that the city would continue as the world’s economic capitol, and in fact its primacy is now seriously challenged by London and Beijing. Gone is the belief that New York represented the best America had to offer the world. Chicago has quickly become the country’s new “Emerald City,” which might grab the Olympic prize for 2016 that New York failed to get for 2012. No, something intangible is gone. That elusive “Top of the World” belief we had in ourselves is gone. Just as the rhythm and pulse of the traffic in Times Square has been replaced by lawn chairs and benches (What next? Hammocks!), it seems that the drive and pulse of its citizens has also diminished."

"I woke up on the morning of the 12th in my sister's Upper East Side apt, since I wasn't able to get home to my apartment in Queens the day before. I took an early subway to work in midtown, and the last stop on the train was Bleecker St...none of us on the train knew what lay south of Bleecker at that moment, and were all imagining the worst. My company decided to close that day, and I went in search of a bloodbank to donate blood. I didn't know what else to do. The bloodbank said they were already overloaded with donations, and didn't need more. The city was silent, the only sound was sirens. No car traffic, no one on the sidewalk talking, no one making eye contact with each other, everyone in shock. It's the only time I've known NYC to be quiet. Later, that night, when I made it home to Astoria, there were flags flying from every house on my block, and it felt so emotional to know we were all united together."

I too remember that feeling of "What now?" on September 12, 2001. I was already appalled at the Bush Administration, but I remember having this feeling that we had to trust that president because what choice did we have? I remember taking the paper flag so nicely provided by our local newspaper and hanging it in the front window. I remember Mr. Brilliant saying, "God, I hope he knows what the hell he's doing."

And of course we know how THAT turned out.

There are hundreds of thousands of preschoolers and elementary schoolers in this country who weren't even here yet on that day, or who are too young to remember. What should they be taught, and what will be taught?


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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bush was warned
He ignore the warning because he was cutting brush in TX???????????
too lazy to READ that MEMO??????????

He is so responsible...
So is Cheney.
So is Condi Rice.