I had planned on posting about Huxley’s first day of Kindergarten today, but I felt compelled to share a different viewpoint of the Twin Towers and 9/11 instead. It’s not my own viewpoint; since I was a junior in high school living in a small Texas town on that day mine is pretty limited.
So today, in true elementary teacher fashion, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of books that I read to my students each year on or near 9/11. Keep in mind that, with the exception of the first year I taught, the rest of my students weren’t even alive when 9/11 happened. Maybe some of you have children that were either very young or not born yet…if so, these books would be great resources for you to share with them.
Neither of the books focus on the tragedies of that day. That would be too much for a young child to digest and comprehend. Sometimes it’s still too much for me to digest and comprehend. Rather, these books focus on remembering what is good about people, that 9/11 hurt us but didn’t break us, and that although it moved on differently, life did move on.
My first, and favorite, is a book by Mordicai Gerstein called “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.”
According to Wikipedia “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. Published in 2003, the book tells the true story of Philippe Petit, a man who walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center on a tightrope.”
This is a beautiful story about how Philipe’s love for tightrope walking, his dream of walking between the two towers, his dangerous plan to do so, and the thrill of his hour long walk. On the last pages of the story is the line “And now, the towers are gone.”
That’s the part that chokes me up every time I read it.
But it goes on to talk about how their imprint is still there, how they will not be forgotten. And how they can live on in our memories, as they do when we think of the man who walked between them.
There is an awesome video that adds animation to the artwork from the book while Jake Gyllenhall narrates the words. If you do nothing else, please go check it out. It’s about 10 minutes long, but it is beautifully done…I hope you’ll love the spirit of the words as much as I do.
The second book was written by a 1st grade class of students from Masterson Elementary and is called “September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be Alright.” In this article by Scholastic, their teacher explains how and why they wrote the book. In essence, she said it was because “When things happen that are bad, small children want to know that the world is still safe.”
So when you wake up tomorrow, on September 12th, I hope you remember that everything will be all right. As grown-ups, we know that the world is not always a safe place. But for those of us who are Christian grown-ups, we know that through Christ we have hope, and that we can not only remember, but respond to 9/11 by showing the love of Christ to both our fellow Americans and our enemies. It’s what we are called to do.
KEEP CALM & REMEMBER…THEN RESPOND