Friday, September 09, 2011

Discussing 9/11

My daughter was born in 2004, and 9/11 and the World Trade Center are historical facts to her.

Last year, as the anniversary approached and the television filled-up with documentaries and docudramas, she asked a few questions that were easy to answer. I simply answered with known facts:
  • Planes were flown into the buildings by terrorists.
  • Many people died, including people from our neighborhood and parish.
  • People all around the whole world came to our aid.
  • New buildings are currently being built on the site.
This year, she is older and the questions are a little more sophisticated.

I saw this news program advertised on Nickelodeon: "What Happened: The True Story of September 11, 2001"

I object to the use of the word "True" in the title, because it places a value judgment on the facts being discussed; but decided to give it a chance.

The show succeeds at presenting facts about the incident with nominal judgment and analysis, which is what I needed. I can give her all the opinion and political analysis I can generate, and my discussion of the facts is often interspersed with those opinions and analyses. She has a lifetime to hear those. I wanted to talk about what actually happened, free of conspiracy theories, criticisms of governments and religions, and opportunistic politicians who have built careers on the pain of others.

This report succeeded at presenting the information in a straight-forward and relatively non-judgmental manner. I cried three times during the 20-odd minutes.

If you need to discuss 9/11 with a child in your life, perhaps this show can help:

What Happened: The True Story of September 11, 2001

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