It's been 15 years since the tragedy struck New York City. Shortly after the event, several members of this site and the art education list group shared student pictures, their feelings and memories about the tragedy. I am including their comments and submitted images below. The images below were part of the healing process for students who lived near the World Trade Center:
"Here in Switzerland, we had 3 minutes of silence everywhere. We are thinking of you all Americans."
"We were asked to turn off our tv's, as well. (Middle school and elementary) It was on in my room before that. I have a student whose Mother worked on the 39th floor (she survived), but when the building collapsed, we did not know that. Everyone was very supportive of this young person. I did not know it that day, but her aunt worked there, too. Her aunt is unaccounted for. It has been hard."
"We had a moment of silence on Friday. In addition, I got shrink art and pin backs and we made patriotic pins to wear and give. Some made the traditional folded ribbon, some did red, white and blue abstracts, some drew the American Eagle... one did the two towers in front of a cover (minus words) of the Grateful Dead... (I asked others not to copy that one... but I did shrink it... he was not being disrespectful... it was his way of coping. I went to school Saturday and made sure that the room was extra orderly, since the children have so much disorder from the attack."
Sincerely, Becky T
"I teach in a small, private school in central NJ. Once we had a general idea of what happened (the Internet was jammed, our cable TV line was out and our building's design makes radio reception difficult) we had a school-wide meeting at 11:15. The principal assured students that we were all in a safe place and that counselors and teachers were available to talk."
"A letter went home with each student that day restating the same. On Wednesday each class met separately with our team of counselors to discuss the events and emotions which followed. Calmness and professionalism helped everyone cope. Although many of our school community have friends, family and neighbors who work in NYC, just one of them is among the 5000 missing. Thoughts jumble together... from the thankfulness in having family and friends safe to imagining the emptiness that must overwhelm the families of the victims in NYC, Washington, DC, and on the aircraft that crashed.
"The attack has brought out much that is good among us: determination, pride, cooperation and altruism... donations of blood and emergency supplies are flooding in and volunteers from local rescue squads and fire departments are now in NYC helping out. But, it has also seen the rise of hatred and bigotry. Central NJ is home to a vast diversity of ethnic and religious groups, some of whom have become targets for the anger and anxiety expressed by others.
There are folks who have begun to shun anyone who "looks" middle eastern or Islamic. Letters to the editor have talked about avenging the innocent victims here by practicing genocide oversees as a way to protect the rest of us. These behaviors and letters are a chilling reminder of how prejudice and hatred are covered under a shallow veneer of civilized behavior. In the days ahead, as we wait for our government's response, it would be wise to reflect upon how hatred for others who are different brought these tragic events to our cities... and pray for the peace of God, which passes all human understanding, to touch our hearts and the hearts of those everywhere... including the innocent abroad who fear an angry, indiscriminate military retaliation."
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"This was the hardest week I have ever had to teach. Although we found out through word of mouth at our school, immediately after it happened, and things continued to happen, we had nothing but a radio as communication with outside world... and we had to go on teaching without telling the students. This was particularly difficult because I have many friends and family members who lived and worked in that area. I work in Westchester and many of the student's parents worked in the vicinity of the tragedy. The day after I had the students paint how they were feeling- no violent images were allowed. Some great discussions took place. I am now trying to think of a bulletin board that would remember this great tragedy without upsetting the students... something hopeful, or something that would give tribute to all of those involved. I know this is a hard time for everyone, but any ideas are welcome."
"The evil that destroyed the area around the World Trade Tower was not the Afghani people. Ben Laden and the network of other terrorists are the main target and they are spread all over the middle east, North Africa, and SE Asia. Ben Laden is a religious zealot who has found followers amongst the Taliban. I wonder about the other group that is battling in Afghanistan. Are these the remnants of the communist government? Are they people who respect laws and human rights? I would back these people in a second if they were decent people. We already made the mistake of backing Ben Laden during the war with the Russians. Pakistan has a nuclear bomb and I worry that it is not secure. Too much of Pakistan is controlled by religious zealots. If Pakistan can not be trusted then India could be drawn in and that would be very dangerous. The Russian Replics have said publicly they would not co operate in any operations against Afghanistan, but do the Russians always do what they say???" - Meg
"I teach in Long Island, New York and this has been such a devastating time for all of us. Since Tuesday, I have been unable to resume teaching from the art curriculum. My students and I shared our thoughts, facts, beliefs, and feelings about the terror in our city. Students were responsible, vulnerable, and mature as they shared their candid thoughts. They expressed their pride about being American. I asked them if they would like to do anything to contribute.Sudents are going to paint a mural and design T-shirts to raise money for the red cross. I will support and guide them in their efforts. I hope that we can all get through this. God Bless America!" -
"Our school of 1500 collected over $2000 Wed. just at lunch for NYC. Our clubs are donating funds that were for operations, also. "
"Our students here are making American flags and they
write a poem about the tragedy on each stripe. They
are hanging flag mobiles in the hallways as well... "
"I teach in Central New Jersey in a k-8 school... from some of my students' homes, the Twin Towers could be seen. I had a prep 2nd period last Tuesday and was in the hall with 2 other teachers (I was putting up a bulletin board) when we heard of the disaster. One of our teachers' son was on the 32nd floor of Tower # 2... I went to cover her class so she could leave (she called that night to tell me he was ok... even though they announced to his building that it was just an isolated incident (the crash at Tower 1) and they could return to their offices, he left his building minutes after the second plane crashed)..."
"Later, during my lunch I watched TV in utter, unbelieving horror. Parents came to school and removed students. Some teachers (upper grades) put the radio on, so by the time some students got to me, they knew bits and pieces.
I felt our administration was extremely lax. The next day we were given handouts outlining how we should be "supportive." We had no assembly, no unity, nothing as a school-community~ not even a schoolwide pledge to the flag or moment of silence. Everything was put on the individual teachers... there was no solidarity at all. I was approached to make flags... I thought of quite a few diverse ways to approach flag-making and it opened up a dialogue with my classes. I made a huge flag with the 8th grade and we had everyone in the school sign their names in red, so the red stripes were made up of signatures. We made folk art flags with stamping and stenciling. I did a ruler exercise for making flags. Collaged flags too... I xeroxed sheet music and we made patriotic stars and stripes... on and on... anything to try to ease the sorrow about NY. My husband and I donated blood and sox and money... but nothing fills the emptiness we feel... I hope you are all safe and coping the best that you can. My thoughts and prayers are with you..."
"I live in the Seattle area, far from the chaos of NY and VA. Here most kids had heard and seen the news before they ever left for school. At our house the alarm went off at 5:30am, we heard that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. We did not turn on the TV immediately, not completely sure why...probably because we never turn the TV on that early. About 6:00 am our phone started ringing, it was my brother in Japan, they had been watching the news and had seen the second plane crash. He was thinking it was 5:00 here and figured we were all still asleep and wanted us to know what was happening. Our school for the most part tried to keep a normal schedule. They always do a schoolwide Pledge of Allegiance. They sent home a letter Tuesday afternoon with pointers for talking to your children and helping them cope with tragedies such as this. On Friday, following the Pledge there was a moment of silence. The older students have organized a schoolwide fund drive for the Red Cross. One second grade class drew pictures and wrote letters to students in NY. Although each class and teacher has been left to handle the situations as they see fit, but they have also shared ideas, etc. with each other."