The 9/11 images from New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania remain vivid memories for most of us 12 years later. Teachers at Omaha’s Brownell-Talbot High School are trying to help those too young to remember the tragedy.
When you think about other major events in world history, such as the Civil War or Pearl Harbor, those books have been written for decades. While history books now include the events of September 11, 2001, the lessons, at least for now, are in a way still changing every year.
"A few years ago kids might remember certain events from the day or how their parents reacted to it, but now, especially seventh, eighth grade and younger, kids have no recollection of the event and so for them it's challenging communicating the terror of the day while maintaining a certain sensitivity to the events,” says teacher Mike Dorsey.
Dorsey shows news footage from the morning of September 11th to his high school students and says it's the first time most of them have seen it and their reaction is one of shock.
"We kinda needed it to happen,” says seventh-grader Jada Griffin. "We needed the security to go up more. We needed better preparation.”
"The world kind of knows that the USA can be pulled off our feet and that we can still be scared, but we have to bounce back and recover like we did and just get better every time some tragedy happens like that,” says seventh-grader Eliza Rice.
"There's always bad people in the world,” says eighth-grader Aneeq Bashir. “You can never change that, but I pray it doesn't happen again.”
September 11th comes up in these students' history books at the end of the year. Still, many of them will make their way over to Memorial Park on Wednesday as part of their school day to view the display of 2,977 American flags, one for each victim of 9/11.
The display is the work of Lynn Castrianno, whose 30-year-old brother died when the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center fell. "It's wonderful and I'm hoping over the years we can continue to do this with the community support because it does take a lot to do this and it takes a lot of emotional energy to do it so I'm very appreciative of the community wanting to stay involved in this."
Lynn feels she still owes the community this service of putting up the flags each year since the community was so supportive of her 12 years ago. "The grief is always there, it's still stunned disbelief. I still watch different coverage on 9/11 and I learn something new with every show that I watch about 9/11, so it's a difficult and complicated emotion."
Her favorite tradition to honor her brother? She will break out the Oreo cookies just as he was known to do after workouts.