Teaching 9/11 in the classroom - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Teaching 9/11 in the classroom

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HARRISBURG, Ill. -- A teacher in Saline County is helping high school students, many of whom were not alive for the 9/11 attacks, understand their lasting impact on the United States. 

"We learn about the events of Pearl Harbor and how it threw us into WWII. This had a bigger loss of life and that's why it's so crucial to us. That's why it's so important. We are still seeing the ramifications of that attack today," said teacher, Matt Griffith. 

Seventeen years after the twin towers collapsed, Matt Griffith at Harrisburg High School, teaches a generation about a tragedy they weren't even alive to remember. 

"They know 'oh yeah, it was something important and President Bush thought it was a big deal' and that's all they know about it," said Griffith. 

Every year on this day, Mr. Griffith asks the students what they know about the deadliest attack on U.S. soil. Many of them were surprised to learn just how many died that fateful day.

"A lot times you just see those eyes open like 'I never even knew it was this bad,'" said Griffith.  

16-year-old Sara Wangler was born six months after the attack. She says her mom made sure she grew up knowing about the events of September 11th, but even so, she says it's hard to grasp. 

"Our generation can't even picture war or tragedy like that, and it's something that we need to remember in order to prevent from happening in the future," said Wangler.  

Griffith says it's his mission to make sure that the 2,977 lives lost that day will never be forgotten.

"As a nation we will always remember those who, either died as a victim, or sacrificed their life," said Griffith.  

He hopes Tuesday's lesson is a lesson these young minds will remember for a lifetime. Most high school underclassmen were born after the attacks took place. Seniors would be too young to remember the day.

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