MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - Today is the 19th anniversary of those attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City.
How do you teach your children, many of whom were not even born yet, about what happened on 9/11?
One high school history teacher tells us about the ways she gets history to come to life with her students. History Teacher Mandy Mathis remembers what she was doing when she heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center on that fateful day that is forever known as 9/11.
“After that second plane hit we knew something major was going on in our country,” said Mathis.
Flash forward 19 years, and Mathis now helps her students at Muscle Shoals high school learn about 9/11 through more than just the pages of a history book.
“I think bringing in the stories the human stories of the people, the survivors, those that didn’t survive. The everyday heroes really make the difference for the kids to understand what actually happened,” said Mathis.
She says as time passes students are less emotionally connected to the event.
“If you think about it the average high school student has not experienced 9/11 so to them it’s just another event in history. So we have to look at it not as a current event per se, but as an actual history occurrence,” said Mathis.
And now that 2020 is a year full of life-changing events, she believes the COVID-19 pandemic may help some students contextualize other historic events like 9/11.
“We have history as it happens at our fingertips now. At any given time we can just pick up and look at media to see what’s going on in the world,” said Mathis.