Twenty years have passed since the single deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil took place, and believe it or not, nearly one-fifth of the country is now too young to remember firsthand the day that changed everything.
Explaining the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 to a generation that never saw it can be challenging for so many, but Dr. Tanya Pellettiere says that communication is vital to honoring and continuing the legacy of so many who did so much that day.
“I think a lot of parents might feel like they need to avoid this conversation,” she says, “… but I think the way we understand history is to really share it and talk about it.”
Dr. Pellettiere has had similar conversations with her own son, who she says, was born months after that day. Over the years, her own personal experience mixed with language that was appropriate for him, were major considerations too.
Parents can certainly tailor their conversations to children that are developmentally appropriate for children, she adds, but as kids get older, communication and honesty is key.
“The way that we can really instill resilience and hope is to make sure that they understand,” she says. “A lot of the stories that we’re hearing today are about the people who helped to keep us safe, and the good things that have come since, and I think those are the stories we end with.”
Parents and caregivers interested in meaningful learning activities to help talk to children about that day are invited to visit 911Memorial.org. There you’ll find a number of activities offered by the museum that can teach children about courage, compassion, resilience and hope.