It is September 11, 2014. Thirteen years has passed since that dark day in the history of these United States. Not only did the World Trade Center fall, 3000 people died, we went to war (one we are still in), started another war, and now we practically get a free proctology exam when we go to through security at the airport.
I remember that day, thirteen years ago. This morning, to remember what happened, I did what a lot of folks did, and I ran 9.11 km this morning. I got up earlier to get it done. Others did 9.11 miles, others biked, a lot of folks did something today to pay homage to those lost in that terrorist act.
I saw the live newscast being coming out so fast that they didn’t even edit out the audio of the guy swearing on the camera, “Holy $#!^”. Okay, I admit, I did find a bit of humor in Matt Lauer saying, “Well…. uh… he certainly expresses the opinion of all of us here.” But it was a solemn day. One that I will never forget, and I doubt anybody who saw what happened will forget. Nor should we forget about what happened.
However, 9-11 isn’t something that I want my 7 year old to know about right now. The Dashing Son believes in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Force. On the morning of 9-11 he looked at a picture in a running magazine and said, “He is using the Force!” I had to tell him that they guy was actually juggling shoes and they snapped the picture when the shoes were in midair.
My son is somewhat innocent. He is a kid, and he should be able to stay a kid for as long as he can. We don’t watch the news with him in the room, we try not to let him watch the violent movies, and we really don’t want him worrying about terrorists trying to destroy his way of life.
Did I mention that he is 7?
Unfortunately, you teachers disagree with me. Last year, his first grade teacher talked about 9/11 in broad terms “Bad guys took over planes and crashed them into buildings.” This year, his second grade teacher showed them a cartoon video of what happened. Really, a cartoon video of 9/11?
Luckily my kid doesn’t freak out to easily. But I have friends who do. Oh, they would have been in a world of hurt with their kid. He would probably start screaming every time a plane flew overhead.
But, why do you feel the need to talk about 9-11 to elementary school kids?
Yes, it is a recent event, and it was horrific. I am sure you remember where you were when it happened. Plus we see the video replayed at least once a year. It is not something to be swept under the rug, but can’t we wait until they reach 4th or 5th grade when they learn about US history?
I am not sure how old you are, gentle reader, but based on the demographics for this site, you are probably in your 30s like me. That means you were at least a teenager when 9-11 happened. But, I would like you to think back to before high school.
When did you first hear about the Kennedy assassination? D-Day? How about Hiroshima? The Holocaust? Trail of Tears? I am willing to bet you were in middle school, not second grade. And I am pretty sure we didn’t see a video about any of that stuff until high school (of course, we were still watching reel to reel projectors in my high school, or if we were lucky VHS).
If these things are too graphic to talk with children, why are talking to them about a bunch of terrorists crashing planes into buildings? If an army officer in his camouflage uniform gets kicked off of an elementary school campus, because he might scare the children, why are we talking about hijackers using planes to kill people?
Our children have to worry about so much these days. We worry so much about abductions, molestations, and shootings, our children are going to be scared of everything. My son just did a “school shooting” drill. True, I had to do earthquake drills as a kid (Duck and Cover), but not school shootings. I guess, as a child of the 80s, we had the cold war to worry about. And being “nuked” was always on the forefront of our minds. But that was a big picture thing. US VS USSR, not 19 wackos with box cutters.
So, dear educators, please let my kid be a kid for a little while longer. He will learn more about 9-11 in a few years, during American History, or sooner if I decide to talk to him about. I just wish you hadn’t jumped the gun. His innocence about the world is going to be shattered in a few years when some kid convinces him that Santa isn’t real. I want him to think that I am the coolest guy ever that can protect him from just about anything for just a little while longer.