As our nation once again observes the anniversary of 9/11 and relives the pain and heartache of 20 years ago, children walk through the hallways of elementary, middle and high schools with confused emotions. Why? Because they were born after September 11, 2001.
An NPR article titled Teaching Sept. 11 to Students Who Were Born after the Attacks addresses the discord between today’s adults who will never forget the events of September 11 and children, who were either too young to remember what happened or had not been born at all.
According to a survey cited in the article, only 20 states teach the events of 9/11 in high school social studies curriculums. And schools that do address the attacks do not do go into much depth.
Kaylah Eggsware, a seventh grade student said, "It was a really big part of other people's lives. I wasn't born then. I don't know about it, so I don't know how to feel about it."
As parents, we cannot rely on others to teach our children the significance of this day. Though many will struggle to find the words to explain the attacks and their aftermath on our country, our children deserve to have a comprehensive understanding of a day that changed the United States forever.
As I prepare to welcome my own child into the world, I have been thinking a lot about the things she was not on earth to see. Though my daughter will not be able to understand the events that took place on 9/11 for several years, I am already thinking about what I will tell her about that day in history.
Years from now, as I tell her about the attacks and what they meant for the United States, I hope that the discussion can be bathed in promises from Scripture.
“You, Lord keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:28)
As Jennifer Studio JRU writes for (in)courage, the most important thing we can remember about 9/11 is how it points our way to Christ.
She writes, “You may have a personal connection to that day or you may have your own life changing day. We all have them. Some more than others. Days that we can’t believe happened and we wish would have never come. Days we wish we could take back, those we wish we could forget. Days that try to pull us into darkness.
“These moments, these days, these events bring fear, sadness, and despair into our heart. These days want to pull us in the dark and leave us in the dark. But do not lose heart, they can also teach us and remind us.
“The thing about the darkness is... that is where we can best see the light.
“And He is our Light.”
Our country seemed like it was at its darkest 16 years ago. And there will be other dark days in the future. But through that darkness is when the light of Christ glows bright, powerful, and full of hope.
JRU writes, “If you carry difficult times in your heart or for the difficult times that will come, I hope you are comforted with the truth that He is your Light in the dark hours. He is your refuge and your strength. He will lift you up. He will guide your way and He will not leave your side.”
As you reflect on the anniversary of 9/11 today, may you ponder these words from Scripture in your heart:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
“Lord God, our history has cried for king-like leaders who will solve our problems and meet our needs. But there is only one King, and that is You, Lord. We have blindly sought answers from others to life's unresolved questions through the years, but You are the only wise Counselor. We have longed for peace, but You are the only Peacemaker, and the only Prince of Peace. We’ve clung to our weapons of warfare, not as measures of defense, but as strongholds of selfish pride. We look at outward appearances; You see the heart. With You, nothing formed against us can prosper. Without You, we are nothing.
“Make us a great nation, yes. But more than that, make us good, Lord, with a heartbeat that wants every person of every creed and color to know Your love, Your goodness, and Your worth. Make us wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Turn our fears to faith, as we look to You and You alone for the future of our country. Give us God-confidence that no matter what happens, we will believe You are not only in control, but that You know exactly what is needed to accomplish Your purpose. Help us not to second-guess Your moves, but to move at Your command, always without hesitation.
“We look to You and to You, only, Lord. Help us make wise decisions that move our country in the right direction. Help us to do our part in praying and in staying with what we know is right according to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to make our actions count and our words matter, and line them both up to Your sense of rightness, not ours. Guide us with Your eye; grip us with Your strong arm; teach us what we need to know to make our lives—and our nation—count for you. We pray for our leaders, but we ask You to make us both leaders and followers: leading in the way of Truth, and following those who honor You.
“In the precious and powerful name of Jesus, Amen.”
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/J-Picture
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap. Carrie and her husband Dustin are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first baby, a daughter, in October 2017.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Sept. 10, 2021 to more accurately list the number of years since the September 11 attacks.