How to talk to today's kids and teens about 9/11

Tributes left in memoriam on the September 11 Memorial | Photo: National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Tributes left in memoriam on the September 11 Memorial | Photo: National September 11 Memorial & Museum(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 11, 2019 at 5:15 AM CDT
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Wednesday morning marks 18-years since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Most students currently in high school were not even born when the attacks happened, at the very least they were newborns.

"All of my teachers, even back in kindergarten, have always taught about it," said Hunter Bullock, a freshman at Kickapoo High School. He talked about his education on the attacks over the years. "Back in kindergarten, it was more just some planes flew into some buildings, that's really all they said." Bullock said each teacher provided age-appropriate details as he got older.

Bullock's current U.S. History Teacher, Mr. Loren Broaddus, said his freshman class will spend Wednesday talking about the events of 9/11. Broaddus said he will share what he remembers from that day and his personal experiences since his students were not born yet. He will also teach the timeline of events and plans to show students videos of the attacks. He said he will give students a choice on whether or not they want to watch those video clips. He was adamant in saying he will only show the clips once.

Mr. Broaddus encouraged parents to be open with their kids when they get to a more mature age, like his ninth grade students. "We expect so much from them in life, it's only fair to be honest with them," Broaddus said.

Broaddus admitted things can be a little more difficult when little kids start asking questions. "Little ones may be precocious enough to say, 'Could this happen again?' and a parent would have to say, 'I don't know,'" he said. Broaddus explained parents need to be prepared to answer the hard questions.

One way to start the conversation as a family is by visiting a local 9/11 memorial. In Springfield, families can visit the Victims Memorial Garden in Phelps Grove Park. In the garden, visitors will find an American Flag encased and on display to honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

There are also age-appropriate guides and tutorials on the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum website. Anyone interested in those materials can find a link to the web page to the right of this story.

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