It’s likely that students and educators will make comments or ask questions about the events of September 11, 2001, at some point in the day. On this day in 2001, life in the United States of America was forever altered when terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City, a portion of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and resulted in the downing of a passenger airliner in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 were killed in the atrocity. Like the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, this dreadful day in history left an indelible mark upon the memories of an entire generation. The events of 9-11 generated a number of political outcomes. Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, dominated headlines and political leaders frantically drafted new legislation (such as the Patriot Act) that soon raised concerns about privacy.
What happened on 9/11 is still painful to discuss. Like a scar on the psyche of our nation, this day is tinged with sadness and fear. Indeed, the troubling emotions associated with the day may never dissipate. Still, when we look beyond petty differences, come together, and learn from from our experiences, the sorrowfully rich soil of tragedy becomes fertile ground where hope takes root and blossoms.
Consider talking about how people everywhere can gather the tools needed to break the cycle of violence and fear. Humans have unlimited capacity for doing good. Educators, students, people everywhere on our fragile planet can acknowledge, address, and overcome forces that lead to violence and terrorism:
- economic disadvantage/poverty
Peace is possible. We just have to be champions for it. Peace doesn’t magically happen. It must be cultivated over time. We must be vigilant to nurture its growth and help it spread.
The good folks over at the Southern Poverty Law Center know what it means to fight for peace. They’ve been doing it since 1971. With close to three decades of experience, the SPLC has amassed very powerful tools for addressing the social inequalities that compromise peace. The SPLC shares its ideas for promoting peace at a project site called Tolerance.org. The site has a number of excellent suggestions as well as teaching kits that are designed to teach, promote, and foster peace.
Start now. Decide to to care. Join with others and help make the world a better place. Be a champion for peace.