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Students born after attacks learn significance of 9/11
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Next Tuesday marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11, which is arguably the most defining event of the past half century in the United States after terrorist attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Penn.

For many, the memory of that day is still fresh, but for most students in school today, they weren’t alive so they didn’t experience it.

To them, it’s just history.

To honor the memory of those lost and help students understand what happened on that day, Lt. Joey Clark reached out to Jennifer Lagasse, the assistant director of education programs at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

With her help and a joint collaboration with Director of Schools Bobby Cox, lesson plans, webinars and other resources were provided to all Warren County schools.

“It’s vital to me that younger generations understand what happened,” explained Clark. “The legacy of 9/11 is the American spirit, which overcame evil with the sacrifice of so many who gave of themselves for others. It’s critical we honor the memory of those we lost that day and that we carry their legacy forward.”

Centertown history teacher and army veteran Rex Crabtree said he plans on using the material in his seventh- and eighth-grade classes. For him, it’s an opportunity to stress every empire has dealt with an attack, discuss tactics of different countries, and explain the effects of 9/11 are still a part of our culture.

“This is not the first time we’ve been attacked,” said Crabtree. “We talk about dynasties in seventh and in eighth grade. We hear about Pearl Harbor, which was a big event for our great-grandparents whereas 9/11 was during our generation. We were attacked and how did we handle that? We fought back.”

According to Crabtree, students’ prior knowledge regarding 9/11 is becoming less and less each year. Many students may hear a little about the events in fifth grade, but the majority typically associate the terrorist attacks primarily with the Twin Towers and believe only two planes were involved.

“I always like to mention the Pentagon as well and also the fourth plane in Pennsylvania because once they figured out what was going on, they fought back,” said Crabtree. “I don’t want them to be forgotten because that was a brave thing they did.”

Crabtree was referencing the fourth hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania, never reaching its intended target because its crew and passengers fought back against members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda.

In a push to raise awareness locally, Lt. Clark, who is also a member of the Warren County Fair Board, is working to finalize plans to broadcast the webinar from inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum at the fair.

Participants will hear personal stories about the attacks from first-responders and survivors, and have the opportunity to ask questions through a live chat with museum staff.

“The anniversary of 9/11 always coincides with our fair and it’s a great educational opportunity,” explained Clark. “We’ll be posting more details on our Warren County A&L Fair Facebook page.”