Brent Jackson’s students were only 4 when the World Trade Center was taken down by terrorist-hijacked airplanes.
For some of his students, the Forsyth Central High School history teacher’s lesson plan may be the first they’ve heard of the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Pennsylvania and outside Washington, D.C.
Others, he said, may recall their parents’ stories of when 19 terrorists used airplanes to launch an attack on the twin towers and U.S. Pentagon.
“That day changed our country forever,” he said. “It’s important that we remember what happened, even though it can be an emotional topic ... and it’s important that we deal with this every year and we don’t shy away from it.”
The social studies curriculum doesn’t call for a lesson on 9/11 until the end of the school year, but Jackson said it’s important to learn about it on the anniversary, so the significance of the attacks 12 years ago is never forgotten.
“I like to look at how it’s changed our county and how it’s affected our county and I like to have a class discussion,” he said. “I think students learn best about what happened on that day by looking at some first-hand accounts — to read about some people who were there and what their experiences were — everyday Americans who were just going through life and how their lives changed, all of a sudden, forever.
“You have much better discussions when you’re discussing a first-hand account of someone who was actually there, rather than reading it out of a textbook.”
Forsyth County’s government used to hold an annual ceremony, organized by the fire department in solidarity with emergency response personnel who lost their lives trying to save others in the aftermath of the attacks.
The event ended with the 10thanniversary. However, Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said Fire Chief Danny Bowman “respectfully requests that our citizens pause to remember the events of that tragic day and reflect in their own personal way.”
While the county is not holding an event, it’s not because people have moved on or forgotten, according to Shivers.
“I don’t think anyone is forgetting at all,” he said. “In fact, we are finding that the citizenry is continuing to remember the tragic events of that day and are embracing their local public safety professionals by thanking us for what we do.
“That’s really what we have found is Sept. 11 is becoming a day for the civilian world to express their thanks to public safety agencies.”
Central students will be expressing their gratitude and marking the occasion today by performing at the Forsyth County school system’s central office.