The Lesson Plan for 9/11

September 2009

john_barryMemories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are still fresh for John Barry. The superintendent of Aurora Public Schools took time from his busy schedule yesterday to speak with high school students who were too young to process the harsh realities unfolding across the nation on television screens that day. Barry was a two-star general in charge of strategic planning for the Air Force on 9/11---inside the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.---when American Airlines Flight 77 careened into the building at 345 miles per hour, killing 180 people. "You could hear it, feel it, smell it," Barry says of the tragedy (via The Denver Post). "What I remember was the confusion, settling people down---some were hysterical, some bleeding." For children across the country, the terrorist attacks have become another lesson in history---like the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor or the Civil War. The Washington Post sets the scene, with kids using their backpacks as pillows or writing notes as they are shown footage of a skyscraper burning, a woman screaming, a tower crumbling, and a mother sobbing.

It's an example of how an educational DVD, a 167-page textbook, and a black binder of class handouts titled "A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum" are being used by a generation with "a new sense of detachment." Meanwhile, daily life on September 11 is tough for many of America's Muslims, some of who dread leaving home because people might stare or even yell insults, writes The Associated Press.