The Best 9/11 Lesson Ever: Visit a Local Memorial

Use this database to find a 9/11 memorial near you

Need a new idea to teach the 9/11 terror attacks? Consider a field trip to a local memorial. Three years ago, I took my eighth-grade language arts classes to a local college where a small monument to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks had been erected. Once we arrived at our designated arrival location, a college student assigned to the task boarded our bus and directed us to the memorial. He then explained the memorial, described its provenance, and answered questions my students posed about it.

9/11 memorial at College of the Ozarks at Point Lookout, Mo.
The “Lest We Forget” Sept. 11 Memorial at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.

The entire outing took no more than one hour and I was fortunate at the time to have both of my eighth-grade classes scheduled back to back so leaving for an hour didn’t disrupt my students’ other classes. That being the case, it was one of the most convenient field trips ever.

More importantly, the field trip helped my students better understand the attacks and identify with the tragedy in a way that’s more tangible than reading about it in a textbook (and way more verifiably truthful than learning about it on YouTube!).

Here’s a quick link to the post about this particular outing:

I hope you’ll read this post. Perhaps it will help you put together your own 9/11 field trip this year. It’s definitely not too late to make plans for a quick and convenient outing, since it’s quite possible a local 9/11 memorial exists near your school.

And since September 11th falls on a Saturday this year, the twentieth-anniversary of the attacks, planning an outing on a Friday should be easy on your schedule.

If you’re wondering where you might find a 9/11 memorial near your school, check this page on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum website: Memorials Database.

You can search by a keyword, city name, or state. You may be surprised to see just how many permanent memorials are out there.

A 9/11 memorial at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Besides the impressive National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, there are literally thousands of memorials around the country and the world. One may be near your school. | Photo by Aaron Lee on Unsplash

For example, in Overland Park, Kansas, you can visit the Overland Park Fire Training Center to see that city’s fire department’s permanent memorial, which was dedicated in 2014 to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Visitors can walk across granite flooring from the trade center to, as inscribed upon the memorial, honor the “footsteps gone silent.”

In addition to the granite walking surface, this memorial’s four main components include:

  1. a piece of World Trade Center steel that visitors are encouraged to touch
  2. four educational panels, one for each hijacked flight describing the events onboard those flights and containing a timeline of September 11, 2001, which doubles as a sundial marking the time at which each flight crashed
  3. a panel listing the victims’ names in alphabetical order
  4. and a wall fountain, referred to as either the Weeping Wall or Crying Wall, which represents the tears shed on 9/11

That’s merely one example of the more than 1,000 memorials around the country and indeed, the world. The prevalence of so many local memorials proves the enormous impact the attacks made on people living in Midtown Manhattan or Manhattan, Kansas.

The Memorials Registry tracks 9/11 memorials throughout the world. It is a testament to the global impact of 9/11 and the diverse ways in which individuals and communities have continued to commemorate the victims and remember the attacks.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum Registry

So spend a few minutes nosing around the memorial registry database to find a 9/11 memorial near your school.

And remember, while we teachers are remembering 9/11, our students are still learning about it. Born into a world with security procedures, safety drills, and other protocols created in response to 9/11, students are still learning about this critical event in world history (and, unfortunately, many of them are learning it from YouTube conspiracy theorists).

Fight back against that influence by taking your students to a 9/11 memorial this year.

Marilyn Yung, owner of ELA Brave and True

Thanks for reading this week!

If you’ve taken your classes to a 9/11 memorial, share your experience in the comments below or drop me an email via my Contact page. I would love to hear from you!

Have a great week!


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Published by Marilyn Yung

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