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Remembering the Miracles of 9/11/01

american flagSome days of the year are perfect for birthdays: the first day of a new season or New Year’s Eve. There are days people say are less than ideal for birthdays: February 29th, April 1st, Yom Kippur, and Christmas.  And then there are days like today, September 11th.  When the clock struck midnight on September 11th, 2001, it seemed like an ordinary Tuesday.  All of that changed after 8:00 a.m. when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

I couldn’t imagine having a September 11th, 2001 birthday… until I met Josh.

Josh is my husband’s cousin born on September 11th, 2001. He turns 13 today. On a day when there was so much madness in the world, there was also so much right with it.  I’m not just talking about the people who helped strangers escape from the buildings, the brave passengers aboard United Flight 93, or the first responders who saved thousands of people.  I’m talking about the babies who were born that day.  For many mothers and fathers, September 11th, 2001 isn’t the day America was attacked, it was also a day they brought a child into the world.

Even though 13 years have passed, my memories of September 11th, 2001 are still vivid. Time hasn’t faded the memory of the black smoke billowing out of downtown Manhattan. I still see throngs of people silently walking uptown on Third Avenue, covered with ash, in my mind’s eye.  But as Josh and all of the other September 11th, 2001 babies become teenagers today, I am trying to remind myself that miracles happened that day too.

Where were you that day?  How do you mark this solemn day at home or in your classroom?  Please share your memories of September 11th by leaving a comment on this post. 


Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

13 thoughts on “Remembering the Miracles of 9/11/01 Leave a comment

  1. I love your perspective here, Stacey. I remember turning on the news that morning to the story of a plane hitting the first tower. At first I thought they meant a small plane. When I heard it was a jet I knew something was wrong. Then, as I watched, the second plane hit the second tower, and I knew it was no accident, of course. Then I heard about the Pentagon. I hurried to school, not knowing what else was in store. I wanted to park myself in front of the tv to stay updated with the latest news, so it was hard to just carry on as usual that day; but of course, that’s what our students needed us to do. It was all so hard to comprehend, even as an adult; I knew I needed to make my third graders feel safe and “normal”. My world, our world really did change forever that day. It’s so odd now with this class of third graders who weren’t even born yet. To them, it’s ancient history, not much different from the ancient Greek and Roman times we are studying in Social Studies. But for me, I can’t believe it’s been 13 years, and my stomach still hurts when I see images from that day. I will never forget that day, but I am grateful that you have given me something positive to think about as well.


  2. Our school had our annual 9-11 program on the front lawn around the flagpole. Songs by fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, presentation of the colors by the visiting high school honor guard, pledge and national anthem by all. Representatives from local police, firefighter, and EMT units were honored guests. At the conclusion of the program, the community heroes formed a receiving line and ALL our students shook hands or shared high fives with them. What a sight, tall, uninformed officers bending down to greet kindergartners and teasing too-cool sixth graders into reaching high or going low to “give me five”.


  3. I was teaching 5th grade, reading workshop, to be precise, when I found out about the towers. That day, and the entire school year that followed was a dark chapter for me. The thought of babies being born on that day (and on other truly awful anniversaries) is so lovely–I wish that someone would have pointed this out to me a long time ago. If only I had known you sooner, Stacey!


  4. I write to my daughter’s kindergarten teacher every year on September 11th, as she had to shepherd those children through the day, with some knowing more than others as they came in for the afternoon session. I was also pregnant with my youngest daughter on September 11th, so all of the almost 13 year-olds are an extra special bunch of children to me.

    Important post, Stacey!


  5. This is a beautiful post, Stacey! Thank you. I got to pause and remember this morning while watching (online) my daughter dance in her first NYC performance at a 9-11 tribute called Table of Silence in the Lincoln Center Plaza. So moving.


  6. I was teaching that day, and as the students arrived, more terrible stories/rumors came flying in. We spent the day listening to the radio, and talking with a parent who was a news reporter. Quite a few parents joined us. We hugged and talked about our feelings all day. For middle school students, it was the time to talk a lot. It colored the year for us, but perhaps for those students of that age, it helped to be together, writing and drawing and sharing the good with the bad. It was much harder for those who taught the younger students, some of whom knew that the attack had happened, but others whose parents did not want it discussed. I like your celebration of your nephew’s birthday, Stacey. It’s my grandmother’s birthday also, and it actually helps to think of her courage in World War II when I think of this day in 2001.


  7. I remember watching the first plane hit before my 4th graders arrived. In my gut, I knew it was not an accident. I pulled myself away from the computer to greet my students. Within two hours, I would face a front office full of frantic parents trying to gather their children. I have never felt so helpless, but for 50 minutes I did what I could to give those parents a small piece of mind. Living in Houston, I knew we had to be a target. I worried for my husband, but I could not get to him. He made it home early, and I collected my students from art and tried to carry on. We did not talk about what was going on. That night I could not stop watching the news, and while I felt overwhelming sadness I also felt pride. I was and am proud to be an American.


  8. I tried hard not to let my baby have a 9/11 birthday (she was born at 12:06 on 9/12 two years ago) because of all the bad memories I have from that day and all that comes with putting a 9 and an 11 together. But this was a beautiful post–seeing the joy among the sorrow. Watching the smoke rise from the city after school that day and then for days after will forever be in my memory.


  9. Every day is meant to be a celebration, even 9/11. We should celebrate the bravery, the sacrifice, and new life. I never know how to approach this subject with my students who were not even born yet. I will, but it is not easy.


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