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Queens Chronicle

A bill to teach kids about 9/11

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 1:55 pm, Thu Jun 6, 2019.

“We Will Never Forget” read the massive banner hung from the World Financial Center, overlooking Ground Zero, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. And we haven’t.

Those who lost loved ones will never forget. Those who were there and survived will never forget. And really all Americans who were old enough that day to know what happened will never forget, always remembering where they were and what they were doing as the horrific events unfolded at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and at a field in Pennsylvania.

Just under 3,000 people killed, 19 of them firefighters from just one house here in Queens, the home of Hazmat 1 and Squad 288 in Maspeth. Another 6,000 injured. And who knows how many set on the course of their eventual death by the toxins in the air.

No, we will never forget.

Just look at the turnout for the 9/11 commemorations held in Queens and you’ll have no doubt about that.

But for millions of Americans, the devastation of Sept. 11 is not a memory but history. Someone who was born that day is probably just about to graduate high school. Can those who don’t actually remember the attacks truly understand not just the devastation but the American spirit that rose in the days that followed?

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. of Howard Beach and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato of Rockaway Park want to ensure they do. They’ve sponsored legislation that would create a September 11th Remembrance Day in the schools. The bill would see a brief period of silence, not of a religious nature, observed at the beginning of the day in the classroom, designed to encourage dialogue about the events of Sept. 11 and how they affected the city, state and country.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on May 22. But in the Assembly, it’s lingering in the Education Committee. We hope it can come to the floor for a vote before the legislative session ends June 19. As Addabbo said, not only would a September 11th Remembrance Day encourage learning about what happened nearly 18 years ago, it would honor first responders and help teach children “how people of diverse backgrounds immediately came together following the attacks to begin efforts aimed at healing our country.”

Welcome to the discussion.