9/11 Memorial

So I started writing this a few days ahead as I do not want to do it last minute, plus I get super emotional about this day. So many of us do. It rocked our nation really hard back on 9/11/2001. We all have of our stories of where we were and how we heard of it. Having lived in New York City my entire life, well I never thought anything would like that would have happened, and its changed my life completely.

Firstly I am going to tell you my personal story, then the history and background as best as possible then I will provide resources on how to teach your own children about it. These is not an easy topic or day and it is something I began discussing with Matthew since he was 3. Little by little he learns more. He has visited the memorial, he’s seen old news clips and he’s heard the stories. We pray every day something like that will never happen again.

I am going to try to not to cry as I usually do. I was 10 when 9/11 happened. I was in 5th grade at PS. 183 at the time and it was still early in the day, I mean about an hour into the school day. I remember going down to the 4th floor to the bathroom when I heard one of my classmate’s mother, Bebe, “screaming get these children out of here, we are under attack.” I had no idea what she was going on about. She was a kind woman who was just eccentric. I thought nothing of it. When I returned from the bathroom trip our teacher had been calling our parents for an emergency pick up. Many of students at my school were children of doctors at Sloan Kettering or from the United Nations. Those of us whose parents didn’t come right away were all put into a classroom on the first floor. There was maybe 10 or 15 of us total, including my cousin Shirley.

Finally my dad came to pick us both up. We walked from 68th and 1st all the way to 20th and 1st. The streets were empty but as soon as we entered my neighborhood there was a massive smoke cloud chocking our air ways. We got upstairs to the apartment, closed windows and my dad put on the news and sent us to play in my room. Shirley and I didn’t listen though and sat there watching the news. We watched the planes hit the towers and saw them crumble. We watched at the devastation. Both our moms were stuck in other boroughs. My mom was stuck in Queens, helping her own students get home, making sure a family member was home. Many of them losing loved ones, and my Aunt was stuck in Brooklyn, teaching law. Bridges were shut down so there was no way either could make it.

Finally my dad came to pick us both up. We walked from 68th and 1st all the way to 20th and 1st. The streets were empty but as soon as we entered my neighborhood there was a massive smoke cloud chocking our air ways. We got upstairs to the apartment, closed windows and my dad put on the news and sent us to play in my room. Shirley and I didn’t listen though and sat there watching the news. We watched the planes hit the towers and saw them crumble. We watched at the devastation. Both our moms were stuck in other boroughs. My mom was stuck in Queens, helping her own students get home, making sure a family member was home. Many of them losing loved ones, and my Aunt was stuck in Brooklyn, teaching law. Bridges were shut down so there was no way either could make it.

My mom finally made it home close to midnight having told police officers she was heading into manhattan to help as a social worker. They let her pass and my Aunt made it through the next day taking my cousin home. Both my parents watched the planes hit in real time. My dad from his 42nd floor office in the Met Life Building and my mom from her High school in Queens. We lost many friends and neighbors that day. Thousands died, were injured and even more traumatized. Our nation was shook to the core but we rallied all together and helped in any way possibly. We are proud Americans and even prouder New Yorkers. And as much as it hurts, we do not want to forget any life that was lost on that horrible day.

Heres the thing, Twin Towers weren’t the only attack on the United States that day. The Pentagon was in as well as a hijacked plane United Airlines Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania when passengers took down the hijackers. All 19 terrorists were killed in the attacks. All of them were Al-Queda.

9/11 changed America. We started the War on Afghanistan and the War on Iraq, we tightened security measurements and we as a nation began looking down on all Muslims even though not all Muslims are extremists. Security at airports changed, sense of safety changed but we rebuilt the freedom tower to show that we are stronger than ever.

So I don’t use all of these resources but I definitely wanted to add for those who do.


Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story by Nora Releigh Baskin

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.

America is Under Attack: September 11. 2001: The Day the Tower Fell by Don Brown

On the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, a straightforward and sensitive book for a generation of readers too young to remember that terrible day.

The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. In the fourth installment of the Actual Times series, Don Brown narrates the events of the day in a way that is both accessible and understandable for young readers. Straightforward and honest, this account moves chronologically through the morning, from the terrorist plane hijackings to the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania; from the rescue operations at the WTC site in New York City to the collapse of the buildings. Vivid watercolor illustrations capture the emotion and pathos of the tragedy making this an important book about an unforgettable day in American history.

Eleven by Tom Rogers

Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday. When Alex rescues a stray dog as a birthday gift to himself, he doesn’t think his life can get much better. Radar, his new dog, pretty much feels the same way. But this day has bigger things in store for both of them. This is a story about bullies and heroes. About tragedy and hope. About enemies with two legs and friends with four, and pesky little sisters and cranky old men, and an unexpected lesson in kindness delivered with a slice of pizza. This is Eleven: the journey of a boy turning eleven on 9/11. A best-seller at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, a Kirkus “Best Books” selection, and winner of Writer’s Digest and Moonbeam Children’s Book awards. 

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Dèja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers? 

The Red Bandana by Tom Rinaldi

Welles Crowther did not see himself as hero. He was just an ordinary kid who played sports, volunteered at his local fire department, and eventually headed off to college and then Wall Street to start a career. Throughout it all, he always kept a red bandanna in his pocket, a gift from his father. On September 11, 2001, Welles was working on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers were attacked. That day, Welles made a fearless choice and in doing so, saved many lives. 

The survivors didn’t know his name, but one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna. Welles Crowther was a hero. 

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman

The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die.

The Man who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

n June of 2002, a mere nine months since the September 11 attacks, a very unusual ceremony begins in a far-flung village in western Kenya. An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed upon the American men, women, and children, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unexpected as it is extraordinary.

Hearts are raw as these legendary Maasai warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away. Word of the gift will travel newswires around the globe, and for the heartsick American nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope―and friendship.

Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

In this story about growing up in a difficult part of America’s history, Jake Green is introduced as a cross country runner who wants to be a soldier and an American hero when he grows up.

Before he can work far towards these goals, September 11th happens, and it is discovered that one of the hijackers lives in Jake’s town. The children in Jake’s town try to process everything, but they struggle. Jake’s classmate Bobby beats up Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, just for being an Arab Muslim. 

According to his own code of conduct, Jake wants to fight Bobby for messing with his best friend. The situation gets more complicated when Sam’s father is detained and interrogated by the FBI. Jake’s mother doubts Sam’s father’s innocence. Jake must choose between believing his parents and leaving Bobby alone or defending Sam.

I survived … The Attacks of September 11. 2001 by Lauren Tarshi

Noah has always been proud of his father, a brave New York firefighter. So Noah is thrilled when his dad plans a special outing for Noah’s eleventh birthday. They are taking a day off school to spend in the city, just the two of them. The morning of September 11th dawns bright and clear, but in less than an hour everything changes. Forever.

September Roses by Jeanette Winter

On September 11, 2001, two sisters from South Africa are flying to New York City with 2,400 roses to be displayed at a flower show. As their plane approaches the airport, a cloud of black smoke billows over the Manhattan skyline. When they land, they learn of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. All flights are canceled; the sisters cannot go home, and they are stranded with boxes and boxes of roses.

In the days that followed September 11, Jeanette Winter was drawn to Union Square and saw, among the hundreds of memorial offerings, twin towers made of roses. In the pages of this small and vibrant book, she tells a moving story.

What Were the Twin Towers?

When the Twin Towers were built in 1973, they were billed as an architectural wonder. At 1,368 feet, they clocked in as the tallest buildings in the world and changed the New York City skyline dramatically. Offices and corporations moved into the towers—also known as the World Trade Center—and the buildings were seen as the economic hub of the world. But on September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack toppled the towers and changed our nation forever. Discover the whole story of the Twin Towers—from their ambitious construction to their tragic end.

With Their Eyes by Stuyvesant High School Students

Tuesday, September 11, started off like any other day at Stuyvesant High School, located only a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.

The semester was just beginning, and the students, faculty, and staff were ready to start a new year. But within a few hours on that Tuesday morning, they would share an experience that would transform their lives—and the lives of all Americans. 

These powerful essays by the students of Stuyvesant High School remember those who were lost and those who were forced to witness this tragedy. Here, in their own words, are the firsthand stories of a day we will never forget. This collection helped shape the HBO documentary In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuvyesant High on 9/11.

The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story by Cheryl Somers Aubin

hrough evocative prose and watercolor illustrations, The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story takes the reader on a journey of hope and healing that parallels our nation’s own journey following the events of September 11, 2001.

A month after the collapse of the Twin Towers, workers on the site discovered a few green leaves showing through the gray concrete and ash. Clearing the debris, they found a badly injured Callery Pear Tree. She was rescued, taken to a nursery outside the city, and put in the care of Richie, a City Parks Worker. No one was sure if she would live. But the following spring, a dove built a nest in her branches and new green buds appeared.

Over the years, the tree, although still bearing scars, grew tall and strong. She is planted in a place of honor on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza and now known as “The 9/11 Survivor Tree.” This story imaginatively describes the experience, memories, and feelings of the tree throughout her healing and her eventual return home.



Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg star in this film set on 9/11, when 5 people are trapped in a World Trade Center elevator. Banding together, they fight to escape the unthinkable.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore’s incendiary agitprop about the Bush Administration’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 became the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

United 93

The hero and heroism of September 11. 2001, is seen from the POV of the hijacked airplane whose passengers fought back.

World Trade Center

Nicolas Cage stars in the unforgettable true story of the courageous rescue and survival of two Port Authority policemen who were trapped in the rubble on September 11, 2001 after they volunteered to go in and help.

102 Minutes That Changed America

The September 11 terrorist attacks seen by the eyes of New York citizens. All videos are recorded with common people’s cameras from the moments that anticipate the impact of the first plane,till the collapse of the WTC 1 and 2. There couldn’t be a more realistic way to show one of the worst and saddest moment of modern era of the United States history; the 102 minutes that changed an entire continent are completely narrated by the people who have directly lived that frightening day.


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