Most high school students weren’t born or were one at the oldest on September 11, 2001.
The students have no personal recollection of the worst terrorist attack in American history.
Earlier this year, Alysha Nicholas was talking to her broadcasting students at Lebanon High School about 9/11 when she noticed some of them had tears in their eyes.
Nicholas said the students thanked her for sharing the stories of what happened at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The reaction in her classroom made her think about a generation of students walking the halls outside whose knowledge of 9/11 might be summed up to a paragraph in their history book.
“It was very important to relay the feelings of how 9/11 changed lives,” explained Nichols.
She asked teachers and staff at Lebanon High School to stop by her classroom and record a message about where they were on 9/11.
“It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Lara Knowles is one of the first people to speak in the video. She sits on a stool with a black drape behind her, fighting back tears as she remembers.
“The second event that is the hardest for me, is I remember being with my brother when he was called into active duty,” she recalled.
“Every generation has these defining events and this was ours,” said Officer Matthew McPeak. “A shock and loss, the depth of loss, I can’t even begin to explain. There were videos of people jumping from the building. They were playing this on the news, showing this on the news.”
“It is very important for you guys to understand the severity of what it meant for us who grew up in it but also what it means for y’all as a generation today,” said Destini Eaton. “George W. Bush, who was our president at the time… I wrote a letter to him after the first anniversary of 9/11 and I actually still have that letter today that he wrote back.”
“Seventeen years ago, I was at Old Lebanon High School in my classroom. A bunch of kids came down and asked me why I didn’t have my TV watching New York City being blown up,” said Walt Crawley. “I said, ‘What? Nobody is blowing up New York City.’ I turned it on and I watched the second plane go in. All I can say is my mouth fell open. I didn’t believe it.”