In 2001, shortly after the tragic events of 9/11, over 15,000 Americans, Singaporeans, and members of many other nationalities packed the Singapore National Stadium. They joined together for a remembrance ceremony honoring the lives of those who were lost. Members of various religions represented in Singapore spoke, flags representing the nationalities of each individual lost were flown, and members of the SAS choir gave voice to the emotions being felt in the United States and around the world.
As we mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next week, we are looking forward to engaging with our students on the events of 9/11 and their lasting impacts. We have asked our educators to be thoughtful about the types of learning opportunities students will engage in. Age-appropriate opportunities will be offered in each division. Elementary school students will focus on building bridges and learning to appreciate differences across cultures, nationalities, and viewpoints. Middle school students will spend time in social studies reflecting on the impact the events have had over the last 20 years. Don’t be surprised if your middle school child asks you to share the story of where you were on that day. This is a great opportunity to connect with your child and to reflect together on how your own family might have been impacted. High school students will have a variety of opportunities throughout the week including social studies and optional advisory lessons, exhibits, a special video created by the social studies honor society, and other student-led activities to learn more about the events that took place.
I encourage you to take time next week to connect with your child about what they are learning in class and use that as a springboard to open up a conversation where you can dig deeper into the meaning and lasting impacts of this event. While all of our students were born after 9/11, they have grown up in a world deeply impacted by it, painfully evidenced this week by the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. For many of us adults, we can remember exactly where we were on that day and still feel the deep emotions we felt at that moment.
As educators, our role is to help students learn about history through multiple critical lenses, understand the root causes and lasting effects, and to think about how we can build a better world for the future. We know conversations of this nature are not easy, and our educators will be careful to enter into them in age-appropriate ways with our students. We encourage you to start the conversations and continue the conversations in your homes.