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9-11: Remembrances mix with hope for future

September 8, 2011
By Evan Bevins - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

Although they may have been very young at the time - or not even born yet - many area students will be observing the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the days ahead.

Activities will take place in individual classes throughout Washington County's six public school districts and there will also be schoolwide moments of silence and other gestures.

"Obviously what we (do) with the kindergarteners is going to be a little different than what we're doing with the older kids," said Cheryl Cook, principal at Harmar Elementary School in Marietta. "We really don't want to go into graphic detail. (We'll be discussing) what happened, when did it happen, where did it happen and most importantly, what did we do in response?"

Article Photos

EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Fort Frye High School teacher John Bostic discusses the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with his freshman modern world history class Wednesday. A portion of each of Bostic’s classes on Friday and Monday will focus on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Cook said the Harmar staff was finalizing plans for its Sept. 11 remembrance on Wednesday.

Both Fort Frye and Frontier high schools will observe a moment of silence in honor of the anniversary of the day when terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and crashed a fourth plane in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

At Frontier, guidance counselor Holly Cunningham is leading a program encouraging students to honor the day by performing a random act of kindness.

"I think it's a wonderful idea ... something everyone can do, whether you're a seventh-grader or a senior," Cunningham said. "You never know, that one nice word can turn someone's day around and keep them from doing something violent somewhere down the road.

"We hope it's a lesson that they do in honor of 9-11 and take it with them for the rest of their lives," she said.

Fort Frye High School teacher John Bostic will be using a portion of his Friday and Monday government and world history classes to discuss the impact the attacks continue to have.

"With the government students, it's how has it changed your life, how does it compare (then and now)?" he said. "And where's the line between your freedom and your safety?"

On Wednesday, Bostic spoke to a freshmen modern world history class about some of those topics, including the heightened security measures at the school, including cameras and locked doors that weren't so common a decade ago. He told the students that even though their direct knowledge of Sept. 11, 2001, may be small, its impact on their lives has been significant.

One of the students in the class, Lexi Skinner, said she remembers little about the day, when she was a kindergartener at Beverly Elementary School.

"I had no clue," she said. "I just remember all of our teachers talking to each other.

"I remember my parents sitting and watching the news the whole time. ... It was just real quiet," Skinner said.

Fort Frye senior Nicole Miller was a second-grader at Salem-Liberty Elementary on Sept. 11, 2001.

"I can't believe it's been 10 years," she said. "I just remember going to school that day and all the teachers turned the TV on."

Miller has flown on an airplane in the years since and while fear of a terrorist attack may have been in the back of her mind, it wasn't an overriding concern.

"You can't live in fear," Miller said. "It didn't freak me out 'cause it's in God's hands."

Skinner admitted being nervous about encountering people of other ethnicities when she last flew, even though she knew it was unfair.

"I didn't like it," she said.

While discussions on such topics will likely be happening in middle and high school classrooms around the county, the approach will be different for younger students.

Putnam Elementary Principal Jona Hall, a former social studies teacher, said nothing specific is planned at that school, although that doesn't prevent teachers from addressing the subject.

"That's a really heavy topic," she said.

New Matamoras Elementary Principal Bill Wotring said a remembrance of 9-11 will be included in the school's annual celebration of POW/MIA Day on Sept. 16.

Belpre City Schools Superintendent Tony Dunn said the district has provided teachers with some materials they can consider using with their students. At the elementary level, the focus will be more on community service, counting one's blessings and making sure people are treated fairly, he said.

Third-graders at Marietta's Phillips Elementary School will read a book entitled "September 12: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right," which consists of drawings and writings by first-graders at an Illinois school the day after the attacks.

"It's a remembrance of the past but also hope for the future," said third-grade teacher Evy Bryant. "This book has it in pictures, drawn by first-graders. That's what they did at that time to help them get through this."

Third-graders will also sing patriotic songs like "This Land is Your Land" and "God Bless America," and may make American flags if time permits.

While the students hadn't been born when the attacks happened, Bryant said it's important for them to learn about it, to "know what America's all about and what makes us strong."

Marietta fire Chief C.W. Durham said he and his wife have told their children about Sept. 11 in general but have not gone into a lot of detail due to their ages - 7 and 10.

Durham's eldest daughter, Sydney, was born about a month before the attacks. She knows the World Trade Center consisted of "large office buildings" and "they were crashed by terrorists in New York," she said.

"It was a really important day and a lot of people lost their lives in it," Sydney said.

Sydney said she's also learned about the attacks at her school, Harmar Elementary, where the events were discussed as part of a social studies lesson last year and a banner hangs that reads, "We Remember."



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