9/11 as American History: Schoolteachers prepare lessons

For Diana Razza, teaching about Sept. 11, 2001, is one of the more difficult lessons in the curriculum, especially because the anniversary comes just days after the school year begins.

"I remember the first year, especially, it was such an unnerving thing knowing the anniversary was approaching, feeling the need to honor it but feeling extremely uncomfortable talking about it beyond that," she said.

The Brentwood social studies teacher will show a documentary about the Vigiano brothers of Long Island who both died trying to save the lives of others.

"I want them to see and understand the human impact of the events of that day and learn a little bit about what has changed," Razza said. 

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Schoolteachers and administrators are faced with the challenge of teaching an important piece of history that most of their students weren't even alive for.

In Malverne, Jason Mach, the district supervisor of humanities, has helped develop lessons for K-12 students that will be taught over multiple days.

"A lot of them have no idea or concept of what happened," Mach said. "This year seemed like the right time — a little more respect and a little more attention."

Schools have always observed a moment of silence on the anniversary of Sept. 11 but this year for the first time many districts across Long Island are delving deeper into the history.

Malverne Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis is encouraging students and staff to wear red bandanas to pay tribute to Welles Crowther, a hero who lost his life rescuing others.

"The children are going to be drawing, painting, and reading about it," she said. "It's a way of teaching about the World Trade Center and the tragic day but it's also a way to celebrate life."

A way to honor the heroes and rally behind the phrase "Never Forget."


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