Editor’s Note: We originally published this post last year, in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Everything here is as relevant today as it was last year. This year, there are at least two public events that will commemorate the tragedy and its victims in Champaign-Urbana:
- 7:46 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11: Memorial Concert by the Jupiter String Quartet, Smith Memorial Hall Recital Hall, 805 S. Mathews, Urbana. This concert begins at 7:46am, the time that the first tower was hit. The audience enters and leaves in silence.
- 8 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11: The public is invited to join Champaign Fire and Police Departments for a 20-minute memorial service to begin promptly at 8:00 a.m. in West Side Park, Champaign. The service will be held at the Champaign Firefighter and Police Memorial in the northeast section of the park and near the corner of State St. and Church St. The itinerary includes presentations by Champaign Police and Fire Department Honor Guards, Lt. Todd Hitt on bagpipes. Spoken tributes will be provided by Police Chief Anthony Cobb, DC Steve Clarkson, Fire Chaplain Dave Ashby, and Mr. Ray Elliot in memory of those who lost their lives on the September 11, 2001 attacks on Flight 93, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
As we come within days of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the media has been filled with recollections, stories and replays of that terrible day when so many lives were lost.
Kids don’t live in a vacuum, and they can and do absorb what we parents may see as background noise: A mention on the radio talking about the tragedy, a clip on the nightly news of the Twin Towers falling or even a Facebook status they read over our shoulders. Explaining what happened that day and why we’re talking about it a decade later can be a daunting task.
However, there are some excellent resources available for those who want to talk about September 11 with their kids. Here, we offer our top five guides for this difficult discussion.
1. PBS Parents offers an age-by-age guide for talking to your children about news events. While the advice isn’t specific to September 11, it does references how to explain and comfort your kids when and if they are exposed to current events that upset or scare them.
2. Nick News and veteran reporter Linda Ellerbee paired up to create a special episode of the children’s current-events program, “Nick News: What Happened on September 11.” The carefully crafted special has already aired, but you can watch the full episode with your child here.
3. The Huffington Post offers a guide written by parenting expert and therapist Susan Stiffelman, which addresses specific questions your child may have, as well as advice on limiting their exposure to the media coverage of this anniversary. Having a script for answering questions like, “Mom, what’s a terrorist” can help a parent who is struggling to put such an adult concept into words a child can grasp — without being frightened.
4. Richard Rende is an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, and he suggests talking to your kids before they are exposed to media coverage of September 11. Rende, who also blogs for Parents, offers great tips about being direct and upfront with your kids about this event.
5. The American Psychological Association sat down with Robin Gurwitch, a program coordinator at the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, for a Q and A about how kids respond to trauma and how adults can help them cope. Gurwitch points out that kids may experience increased anxiety during this time.
Are your children curious or concerned about September 11? What tips do you have for talking about it with them?