In November 1963 I was in my social studies classroom. Our teacher, who also was my wrestling coach, had just been called out of the room and when he returned was white as a sheet. He was attempting to tell us something when over the intercom the main office announced school was cancelled for the rest of the day. President Kennedy had been shot. My teacher was trying to compose himself, he appeared to be on the verge of tears, simply left the room. No more announcements were made. We just left the school. All of us despite our age stunned by the news.
At home my mother was glued to the television as Walter Cronkite gave us an account of the days events right up to the announcement of his death. A single most defining moment in history had occurred as I sat in class then, and on September 11, ten years ago, I stood in front of my classroom equally stunned and on the verge of tears as I watched with my students the towers collapse in my hometown. I am sure I talked and answered questions the students asked during the day– but I do not remember it all that well. I do remember the school’s administration telling us not to watch the television with the students that we were to keep the information quiet. A typical response for them then as well as now.
I watched television coverage of different events marking the ten-year anniversary and as with movie violence, television’s adult themes, the often shocking lyrics of some music, this event just marks another change in how we are being shaped by the forces of societal change. My dad died the year before the attacks on our country and I was glad he did not live to see what happened to the country he fought so hard for in WWII. I can only hope that we have seen the worst that the world can offer. That movies, television, the internet become more responsible and caring of our social morals and produce quality programming instead of trash talk and trying always to be the first to out-shock the viewing audience. I thought the assignation of a President was the worst the world would ever see, I was wrong. I now pray that the events of 9/11 a decade ago, will be the worst the world ever has to witness — for my children and grandchildren.
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