Today has been a reflective day for me. I have thought more about what that day felt like than I have since the actual day. The numbness, staring at the TV for hours and feeling like it was not real...
I will talk with 9th graders who were 4 or 5 years old at the time, about it a bit tomorrow. I am guessing they will have a few questions. But I will not teach about it.
My own son who was born less than a month after that awful day asked me why they did it. My wife said it was because they hate us. But that is not the real answer, not a complete answer. The next obvious question is why do people hate us? Many would bring up religion, power, and economics. These are all part of the answer but the truth is so much deeper.
The truth is that 9/11 is the result of a complicated story involving the United States, Europe, Israel, Russia, and the Middle East going back to World War II and before. It is a story of war, imperialism, greed, oil, hate, Cold War, and propaganda. There have been many innocent lives lost in this story, but there are no innocent nations.
And the story continues in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, and beyond. There have been many individual heroes and villains in this story, but the United States (unfortunately) is not the hero of this story but just another self-interested party. The story of 9/11 and the following wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is complex, messy, twisted, and historically based. It can not be summed up in a few words of a 5 minute YouTube video. What happened on September 11, 2001 was an incredible tragedy and I mourn with all of the families of victims this day.
I will never excuse or defend the actions of the terrorists on that day. But the terrorists did not act for no logical reason (at least from their perspective). It is important that we understand the background of this story and their reasons for attacking. Only then can we decide an appropriate response to that day.
Tomorrow will be the fifth day of school. My students are not ready for all of this. Most