Area teachers explain significance of 9/11 to students born after the attacks

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Wednesday will be 18 years since the nation looked on with horror as the twin towers fell to the ground.

For many, September 11 is a day to reflect on one of America’s worst tragedies.

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Although the attacks don’t seem like too long ago for some us, there are now students in high school who weren’t even born when those tragic events unfolded.

Craig Piper is a social studies teacher at Starkville High School.

He’s been teaching history for almost 15 years and said he always touches on the topic of 9/11.

However, he’s recently been faced with the challenge of explaining the historical event to students who were born after the fact.

“I always try to personalize the moment, so kids can relate to the history. What I will do with 9/11 is talk about how things are kind of going a certain way and then one day it’s just totally disrupted,” said Piper.

Unlike other chapters like World War II or the Lincoln assassination, Piper lived through 9/11 and remembers it vividly.

“It’s very interesting because you take it for granted when you’ve lived it. You assume that everybody else has lived it too and kind of understands it, and they don’t. You have to kind of bring it back to what you were doing that day and the things that were going on that day and then how it happened and how you heard about it,” said Piper.

Sally Stafford is a Junior at Starkville High School, which means she was born in 2003– just two years after the attacks.

The only record she has of September 11th comes from her history books.

“I think of the terrorist attacks and the twin towers and just kind of like the after effect of it. School programs kind of… Never forget…” said Stafford.

When it comes time to study, Stafford said she has a few other credible sources she looks to.

“I have memories of being younger and asking my mother ‘Oh where were you during 9/11?’ I feel like I have a good understanding of it from my parents and my educators,” said Stafford.

Piper said it’s important for today’s youth to know the effects of such a huge tragedy.

“To these kids, when you go to the airport for example, the total searches and everything else, that’s normal, but before 9/11 it wasn’t normal. It was like people could walk with you to the plane and see you off on the plane. They could go on the plane with you as a matter of fact,” said Piper.

It’s only a matter of time before today’s students have a story of their own to tell.

“You know, when you’re young, and we were all like this, we think well this kind of stuff will never happen. It’s going to happen. In their lives… I mean we hope it’s going to be something joyous, we’ll be transformed by some kind of historical event. It’s just the way it is. Humankind and the way they interact…” said Piper.

At 8:46 a.m., on September 11, the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center.

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