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Helpful Hints

1. Existing memorials students might want to consider include Washington, D.C. memorials such as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as the memorial to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

2. Sample entries include: for the glossary, Al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction; for the Q & A, In what three places did hijacked planes crash on September 11? and Why did the United States invade Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks?; for the news sources, PBS's News Hour and the BBC; for the map, Iraq and Afghanistan.

1a. Possible height comparisons include ships, aircraft, and familiar distances such as a football field or school hallway. Possible square footage comparisons include one's home, a school or mall, and a farm. Be sure that students understand the concept of square footage and how to calculate it.

1b. Willis, Hamill, and Wallace describe lower Manhattan as an aging industrial port at the end of World War II, with a well-established community of small businesses and manufacturing. Within a few decades, Lower Manhattan becomes the center of a new global economy. Opposition to building the towers came from the local businesses, anti-urban renewal protesters, and most of all, from Midtown business interests who were alarmed by a massive government project to shift the center of Manhattan business -- including commercial real estate -- to the southern tip of the island.

2. Encourage students to resist stereotypes (both positive and negative) and to present both writers as believable individuals. If students are uncomfortable writing from Osama bin Laden's perspective, you might first hold a class discussion on why we should try to understand why someone would commit a crime such as this. To better understand Al Qaeda's motives, the class might read Dinesh D'Souza's "Why they Hate Us" in his book, What's So Great About America?

1. If a microphone and/or slides of the sites are available, they would make the virtual tour more realistic.

2. Possible films include Age of Innocence (1993), Do the Right Thing (1989), Escape from New York (1991), Gangs of New York (2002), Manhattan (1979), On the Town (1949), and Wall Street (1987).

1. Alternatively, each student could list for the class the different ways in which other countries affect his or her activities in a typical day -- the consumer products he or she uses, the actors or musicians from other countries he or she enjoys, and so on.

2. You might want to begin this activity by viewing a Gallery of the World Trade Center and discussing as a class the way in which the World Trade Center stood apart from its surroundings.

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My American Experience

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Share Your Story

How did you first learn of the September 11 attacks? Do you remember what you were doing when the Twin Towers fell? What did it mean to you? Do you have specific memories of that day?

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • Rosalind P. Walter
  • New York Times
  • The Overbrook Foundation