Thursday, September 13, 2018

A History Lesson

Tuesday night I asked my daughter, “You know about 9/11 right” and her response broke my heart. She had no idea at all, 14 in 8th grade, and no clue about what thrust the U.S.A. into the war on terror. Last night I asked my son the same question and his reply, more accurate than hers, “That’s what started our war right” made me realize that I needed to do some serious history lessons at home.

Both kids sat down with me and I pulled up a Youtube video of one of the ABC news posts right after the first plane hit the tower. I watched them absorb the newscast. It was a seven minute long video that ended with the second plane attacking. We pulled up the next video, plane #2.

Next, we watched Alan Jacksons, “Where were you” video.

Sierra shed tears, she looked up at me and asked, “Mom, why would anyone do that?”

How do I even answer that when I don’t fully understand it myself? I told her, “Because the terrorist, they hate America and everything we stand for. Freedom, rights, and equality. Everything our flag stands for.”

Aaron reached his arm out and grabbed my left hand. He held onto it as the song kept playing. When the music ended no one said anything for two or three minutes.  Aaron quietly said, “Why would they kill themselves as a bomb?”

“I don’t know Aaron, they think it’s what God wants.”

Sierra’s hazel eyes looked up from the screen to look at me, tears coating her lashes, “God doesn’t want people to kill for him!”

“No Sierra, he doesn’t.”

Why hadn’t they learned about this before? Why wasn’t it discussed in schools? I did a Google search asking that exact question and apparently in Texas it’s left until High School to get into the deep topic of 9/11 and terrorism.

How is this not part of “American History” in 8th grade? We teach about WW1 & WW2 in 7th grade Texas History, why not 9/11 in American History?  Or why isn’t it discussed more when religion is taught? I remember my daughter learning about different religions around the world and how they all interact with one another in her 6th grade social studies class. Shouldn’t they teach about the downfalls to extreme religions (any religion) and what perceptions can cause? How religion at the base is a good thing but all good things can be used as a weapon if abused?

My kids asked what I was doing when 9/11 happened. I remember it like yesterday.

I was in my dorm room at Sam Houston State University asleep. My roommate was in our bathroom getting ready for her 1st period class, I think it was biology, and I was just starting to wake up. The news was on, the twin towers were on the screen and smoke was burning. Just as I cleared my eyes I saw the second plane hitting the tower, fire engulfing those floors.

I will never forget where I was, but I can’t believe children don’t really know about this event at all. Their entire lives have been framed in the 9/11 era.

Students are growing up in the world of Arab/Muslim hate, ‘Muslim Ban’s’ or however else you want to frame it. And they don’t even understand why the word “Muslim” is even a hot button or how Isis even came to be. Why are our soldiers in the Middle East? Why do young men and women come home injured or worse, gone from this life?

Because of 9/11. Because of decisions we made shortly after those attacks. Because of decisions we made before 9/11.

Because of hate.

My question is, if people are so scared of history repeating itself, why aren’t our students taught about it more? Taught on what hate, racism, sexual bias lead to?

This just makes me sad, makes my heart cry.

It has been a while since I composed a blog and I thought today I needed to. I needed my outlet to let my feelings flow.

It makes me sad my kids don’t know about the history of my country, a country I love. A country my grandfather’s proudly served in, a country I proudly call mine. I don’t want my children growing up thinking Muslim’s are bad. I have friends that are Muslim’s and every one of them are wonderful human beings, just like my friends who are Jewish or Wiccan and agnostic. If I don’t want my children growing up and potentially following someone’s footsteps of hate I need to make sure I am teaching them about the past.

9/11 wasn’t history for me, but I am starting to see how it has become history now.

Next on my list is December 7th. I’ll be teaching them about Pearl Harbor and how America stepped into WWII officially because of the bombs. And what that lead to, the destruction of so many lives.

We have to teach these kids history … we have to stop the hate. How do we keep our precious babies safe? When you have that answer please let me know.

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