The history teacher in me has learned to recognize the significance of some dates. There are days in each generation where the clock stopped briefly as the whole world became transfixed and focused …
The history teacher in me has learned to recognize the significance of some dates. There are days in each generation where the clock stopped briefly as the whole world became transfixed and focused on one place. That date, for my generation, passed last week and we can never remember it enough.
For my parents’ generation, everyone can tell you where they were and what they were doing when news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination came across television waves.
That horrific day is frozen in their minds
My grandparent’s generation more than likely didn’t have televisions but can tell you exactly how they found out about the attacks at Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War 2.
For those of us who lived through that day the date frozen in our time was Sept. 11, 2001. We were all reminded of that when the anniversary of those attacks passed Saturday.
I was standing in the newsroom where my friends still construct this paper when I personally got the news. A news reporter at the time, I went into work mode as we tried to report on local angles of the national tragedy. I watched the first tower come tumbling down with my late friend Dan Richards, a long time Daily Record sports editor and reporter.
The now classic song by Alan Jackson, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” talks about this very subject. So many Americans were just going about their own business when evil was personified in front of us. Teachers taught, musicians performed and people did as they do every other day until their routines stopped.
As the song says, some people were in the yard with their children, oblivious to the history being made.
The challenge we now have is to make sure those coming behind us don’t forget what happened. Every year I have stood in front of children I have attempted to remind them of this day.
Now teaching career exploration I used part of my lessons Friday showing middle schoolers the important work first responders did that day. I hope I inspired them to think about such careers themselves.
If we do not teach the next generation what happened that day 20 years ago they will be as shocked as we were when it happens again. We are fooling ourselves if we don’t think it will.
In the midst of a busy life I found myself engulfed in the coverage of the Sept. 11th anniversary. I think a small part of me hopes this time that plane will fly right by the second of the twin towers.
I hope somehow brave heroes will succeed at taking over a plane under the control of terrorists undoubtedly bound for Washington D.C. before the terrorists crash the plane. Maybe the plane headed for the largest office building in the world, the Pentagon will miss this time.
Of course, those things never happen. The horror of that day is as graphic now as it was 20 years ago. Those of us who lived through it will never forget. I hope we can convince the next generation how bad it hurt.
Eventually, those of us who lived through it will be gone. Like the JFK assassination and Pearl Harbor before it, Sept. 11 will only live in historical reflections and documents.
Hopefully, before that happens, we will pass the significance of that day on to the next generation. It was easy to remember on the 20th anniversary. Let’s hope it’s that easy 20 years from now.
Tom Woerner is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of the Harnett County News. Reach him at email@example.com.