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transcript of teachers memories of 9/11 (rough cut)

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Feb-22-22 Rough cut - teachers reflect on 9/11

Sara Strickland 0:02
On September 11 2001, I was a senior in high school, and I grew up in New Jersey. So rights attached to New York,

John Michael Pantlik 0:12
my personal 911 experience and the day of I remember really vividly, I was a freshman in college.

Brian Chappell 0:25
So I was attending a school in Maryland, and many of my friends had family members who worked down by the Pentagon and and downtown in general.

Jeanette Sawaya 0:37
And I remember Katie Couric explicitly saying, like watching that second plane, go into that second tower. And for a while it took took a while. To really understand what was happening.

John Barron 0:54
On Tuesday, September 11 2001. I was a seventh grade student at Holy Family Interparochial School in Norwood, New Jersey.

Matt Vanderlaan 1:02
I had I was riding the bus to school that morning when it first started happening. And so I didn't learn about it until I got to school. I was I was in seventh grade. And I lived actually on a military base and was bused kind of several miles from, you know, a nearby area right outside the base to a little coastal town in Washington State.

John Michael Pantlik 1:22
And my professor was sitting there and she was looking at the TV and she was crying and I sat down and looks sort of watching the TV. And I didn't leave that classroom for about six hours, probably

Jamie Scholl 1:37
the adults in the building. We were in shock when we didn't know how about the kids were traumatized. They were also seeing things on TV and hearing things and watching the adults being traumatized and and shocked by the whole thing and when there was a lot. There's a lot.

Sara Strickland 2:03
Our psychology teacher had us take out a notebook and just free right, right what we were thinking right how we were feeling. If we were stirred what we were seeing on the TV, and I still have that. I thought that was a really neat thing to do to kind of help us process what was happening.

Matt Vanderlaan 2:20
My science teacher actually like looked around the class and locked eyes with me and was like do you need to call your mom because everybody knew that my parents were soldiers. And I was kind of unique in the school community for that. So in that way, it was kind of like, we went into like super security mode and everyone was very quiet and just trying to figure out what to do next.

Matt Pacenza 3:05
And the fall of 2001 I was working at a magazine in lower Manhattan, and I lived in Brooklyn. And so every morning I would take the subway into Manhattan and then walk a few blocks to the office. I heard a report on the radio that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. But that early report it they made it sound like it was an accident or a little plane or something like that. So I definitely thought well, that's weird, but I kept going to work.

Matt Pacenza 3:05

So I get on the subway that's maybe about 10 minutes and then I exit the subway. And the point at which I exit the subway was the closest I was at any point to what happened. And that is the the Bowling Green subway station. And so I exited the subway station just seconds after the second plane hit the other tower. And that was one of the more frightening moments because there were people screaming and yelling and running. And from that subway station I was probably about three blocks from the site. From the World Trade Center. But when the second tower fell, we had a clear vision of it. We saw it come down and that was awful. That was absolutely awful. You just you knew there were all kinds of lives lost.

Matt Vanderlaan 3:49
And so obviously as you know child of military parents, both of them were soldiers. I definitely had this kind of crystallization of American identity in that moment of like everyone was united behind this idea. I remember that there had been so much discussion just before the election of President George W. Bush about whether or not he was a good president. And in the days after 9/11 It was like his his approval rating was one of the highest it was in history, like looking back at it now. And I saw that like I saw people were praising him. People were praising the action. We saw, you know, a bipartisan Congress suddenly working together towards this goal of defending people and making sure something like this could never happen again. But then I also saw the other side of it were very quickly, you know, there was a vilification of Muslim people there was a vilification of anyone who seemed like they might not be from the United States, and especially from the Middle East. And it was interesting to see how quickly kind of two ideas kind of crystallized in that way right of unity, but then also have like an us versus them kind of mentality.

Brian Chappell 4:52
But for me as an educator, you know. I understand that my own students now were born after that event. And so for them, it strikes them more as history than us. Here now, even though what we're seeing in the recent news with Afghanistan is a direct fallout from that event. But I think the main takeaway is that, that experience of living through that and and witnessing the wars that happened as a result, helped to shape my commitment to raising a generation of peaceful people.

Matt Vanderlaan 5:34
I think a lot of ways 9/11 was was a definite turning point. When we look at the arc of history and we look at how influence or events influence one another throughout history. 9/11 was one of those moments where very few people predicted that it would happen, and then how it would affect everything that came after. And I think that's one reason it's really important to be aware of, not only the facts of the situation, but about the impact, right, the kind of ripples that came out of that event, and changed a lot of things in our society, how we view different cultures. The fact that we were then in the longest running war in American history afterwards. 9/11 inculcated or kind of started this idea in the American populace of almost the kind of xenophobia fear of outsiders, this idea of those who are like us could potentially be threats in some way, right? They're they're dwelling everywhere around us.

Matt Vanderlaan 6:24

And the way that there was a spike in Asian and Asian American hate crimes and incidents of you know, blatant racism and prejudice, definitely spiked as well after you know, kind of the discussion of the origin of COVID-19 and where that came from the Coronavirus. And so I think it's interesting to see how one idea started and it's it shifted and molded but like, I almost want to say like the foundation was still there. We just kind of change the details on top, if that makes sense.

John Michael Pantlik 6:50
being just a few weeks into the start of my college experience. I think it also really immediately kind of had that effect of I grew up really fast and there was definitely an innocence. I think that was forever lost after that

Jeanette Sawaya 7:11
because I think there's lessons to be learned in every event, historical event or life event that we have.

John Barron 7:17
America is more than idea than a place and it's one that encourages every single one of its members invites us all into itself into this project. Of trying to understand exactly what liberty is and how to live it. All of us belong together. And we're learning from each other and we're learning together and it's something that continues to unfold. I think that's the most appealing thing about America as a project. So I consider myself as a member of that project, who has a responsibility to listen to those around him to gain from their experience and to just burn how to make that mess together.

Matt Pacenza 7:58
Here's the good news is not much has happened since then. And I think that that's really important. And I think that you know there were some things that happened in London and Madrid and Boston in that decade that followed. But we've largely been free of that kind of violence, at least here in the United States. So I'm an optimist. By nature, I generally think that you know, the vast majority of people in the world want to treat each other well. And so I'm not frightened about it day to day for sure. With that said, but I'd be shocked if there was some sort of mass event at some point again in my lifetime. Certainly I wouldn't be shocked but I'm hopeful.

Matt Pacenza 8:39

So for me, it's a lot about history. And context. You just have to every single conflict every single moment. It has hundreds of years behind it. And you can't understand September 11 Without understanding just in one example, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, you know, you can't understand September 11 without understanding the CIA coup to overflow the government of Iran and and so all these things is this like interconnected web of history. It's overwhelming. No one can understand it all.

Matt Pacenza 9:12

But I think we all just need to take a deep breath and sort of appreciate that we have hundreds of years of histories that build to these moments. And I know we want to see the world as kind of good guys and bad guys. But to me, the world is shades of gray. There's just Shades of Grey everywhere. There's nuance. There's complexity, there's context and what I always want to help young people do is to try to understand that context better and appreciate all that, that ambiguity. And I think that's that's the best lesson that I could take from that.

DMU Timestamp: February 22, 2022 20:22

Added February 22, 2022 at 3:46pm by Christopher Sloan
Title: Rough cut - teachers reflect on 9/11

DMU Timestamp: February 22, 2022 20:22

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