American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Reflections on September 11

Published March 24, 2011

This week marks the one-month anniversary of the terrible events of September 11th. In the weeks that have passed, like so many other New Yorkers we have moved from shock to mourning to a resolve to emerge from this catastrophe with a greater commitment to social equality and public knowledge. That working people played such a significant role as both the victims and heroes of this catastrophe only increases our determination to continue our twenty-year effort to recover, present and teach workers’ history.

There has been a lot of discussion that September 11th “changed everything.” We can’t, of course, foresee the future, but there is no question that we all will be facing significant challenges. The crisis in education lamented by politicians and educators alike will only increase. Moreover, recession and a reversal from social to military priorities can only exacerbate recent trends to defer critical thinking to simply “teach to the test.”

In the coming months, in addition to our ongoing faculty development, teaching-with-technology, and new media programs, ASHP will join with other public history projects to collect resources and create materials to help teachers, students, and the general public understand September 11th and its aftermath. Now, more than ever, it is urgent to learn about the past in order to understand how to cope with the present and to devise constructive ways to repair and change our city, nation and world.

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