Kids in high school barely remember 9/11; freshmen were just babies.
Yet it’s important that they appreciate what happened because it has shaped the world they live in. Just ask David Rothblatt and Fia Hargil, lifelong New Yorkers who are among the six teens who made up the inaugural class of junior ambassadors trained to work with children who visit the new 9/11 Memorial Museum that opened at the World Trade Center this past May. Since then, nearly 2 million people from 140 nations have visited.(A tip: purchase tickets online several weeks in advance to get the time slot you want.)
Some 150 students applied for the six slots “to honor those who risked and gave their lives for strangers… and all of those whose lives were taken for no reason,” said Rothblatt, noting that his dad’s best friend was badly injured that day
Visiting the museum is not easy—museum officials recommend that kids be 11 to see the main exhibits but there are free art and activity programs for children starting at age 6 on Saturdays led by the teen ambassadors, with more planned for school breaks and summer. There is also guidance on teaching children about 9/11 and a special Museum Guide for Visitors with Children. Museum officials suggest encouraging kids to closely look at an artifact and ask “What do you notice?” Answer their questions with basic facts and be specific.
The New York kids I interviewed for my Kid’s Guide to NYC — one of my series of City Guides for Kids — were old enough to remember 9/11 and, of course, have vivid memories of that day. “Some people say New York City isn’t a community but on 9/11, everyone was looking out for each other and trying to help,” said Amanda, who was 10 then.
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