Do you remember where you were at the exact moment you heard about the first attack on the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001? Well, I do. I was driving to work on that beautiful, clear morning . . . at least, it was clear in Nashville, Tennessee. I could see the Nashville skyline in the distance.
Moments like that one are etched in our memories, sometimes for a lifetime. But as terrible as the events of that day were, a lot of good things happened in the days that followed. People became closer; patriotism was at a high point; random acts of kindness came more easily and more often; churches were filled; and we rallied together as a nation for the first time in a long time.
But what about the grade-school kids who weren’t even born in 2001? How will they remember the events of 9-11-01? Will they remember only the negatives they have heard already or will hear as they grow older?
Van Winkle Elementary School, an inner city school in Jackson, Mississippi, chose a different approach to 9-11. They used Big Apple VBS backdrops to set the scene for a ceremony to honor fallen heroes. The children made a paper chain with a link for every person who was killed that day. The chain and a list of the victims’ names were posted on the walls inside the school.
But they didn’t stop there. They wanted this to be a teachable moment for the kids about another good thing that came out of 9-11, the importance of the everyday heroes in our own backyards—our first responders.
Check out some footage of the school on one of their local news stations. http://www2.wjtv.com/news/2011/sep/09/school-kids-observe-911-ar-2385884/
With each passing year, I hope we will remember 9-11, now known as Patriot Day, as a time of reflection for those we lost as well as a time for thankfulness for our first responders who courageously risked their own lives to pull many from harm’s way.
Make it a point this week to thank first responders (firefighters, EMS, rescue, law enforcement, military, and civilian support teams) in your community.
A special thank you goes out to Jeff Land, Editorial Project Leader, Childhood Ministry Publishing, LifeWay Church Resources, for sending us this story. His mother, Ann, is a teacher at Van Winkle Elementary School, Jackson, MS.