9/11 lessons in Hawaii's schools

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Most people remember exactly where they were when they heard about the 9/11 attacks, but children who are too young to have memories of that day are learning about the tragedy from textbooks.

Young students at Hickam Elementary School are learning to remember a tragedy that the world can never forget. Most of them were born after 9/11. Others were simply too young to understand.

"My parents told me and then I wanted to learn more in school," said 6th grader Skyla Blansett.

"Our students have been doing research, as well as reading books, and having discussions. They even wrote letters to the men and women who have been deployed," said teacher Adele Horikawa.

Their principal lost one of his best friends from high school in the attacks.

"He was one of the brave 341 firefighters who lost their lives trying to help people get out of the twin towers. To share being a native New Yorker and having worked in the World Trade Center, I have been profoundly impacted by the impacts of 9/11," said principal John Erickson.

The students have a strong interest in the upcoming anniversary because they come from military families. Some of them have parents who have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq several times.

"It is very important because it affected my family because my dad had to leave many times instead where maybe he would have stayed at home more," said 6th grader Joseph Casello.

Over at Saint Francis School, the juniors in an advanced placement class were just six or seven years old on 9/11.

"As a first grader, I didn't know nothing," said student Sosiua Havea. "But over the years, I had a deeper meaning of why they attacked us. It had to do with religious differences, and al Qaeda had something toward the US."

"It's a constant change as new things are being found. We as teachers need to share that manao, that knowledge, to youngsters," said teacher Rick Saunders.

The students have learned about the impact through their families, schools, and the media coverage. One girl in the classroom was living in New York at the time.

"When we went through 9/11 lessons in school in New York, a lot of my teachers, peers, they were really affected and would often times cry. They would have really sad stories," said student Isabel Luk.

This dark day is more than just a few pages in a textbook. As they study the tragedy, those in the next generation hope that this painful chapter can finally come to an end.

"I hope that they understand what happened so that people will be more safe and won't end up having this happen again," said Casello.

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