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Fifth- through eighth-graders at Holy Family School in Freeburg captured a moment in time that they did not experience.
They created posters and a three-dimensional image of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York as they appeared during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“This day is very much alive in their hearts and minds, even though they were not even born yet,” said their teacher, Mary Holterman.
The students created the 9/11 monument to honor their country’s fallen heroes on the 20th anniversary of that historic day.
The fifth- and sixth-graders depicted their thoughts on posters, which were among those displayed at the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office at the State Capitol complex during the events held to mark the 20th anniversary.
Mrs. Holterman didn’t have to say much to prepare her students to honor the people who died in those attacks.
She simply asked: “Does anyone know what happened on 9/11, 20 years ago?”
Every student had something clear to share about the event, ranging from the perpetrators to how they carried out the attacks.
They knew that lives of many people were lost in the tragedy.
“They were aware of how the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City,” Mrs. Holterman noted. “They knew the hijackers took over the aircraft and flew it directly into the building, not caring if they lost their lives or anyone else’s.”
They knew that around 15 minutes after the first plane crash, a second plane was hijacked.
“The students were quite aware that the North Tower was struck a bit higher than the South Tower,” she added. “They explained that explosions and fires occurred.”
The seventh- and eighth-graders’ challenge was to recreate the Towers using common materials, along with realistic smoke and fire.
Mrs. Holterman shared with them her own recollections of the day.
“I totally recall hearing about this incident from my eldest child who was at work the day of the attacks,” she said. “I can still see the clock on the wall and him saying, ‘Mom, did you hear what just happened with the Twin Towers?’”
Since then, she has had the opportunity to visit the place where the Twin Towers were located, to spend time at the memorial there, and “to imagine the forever loss families have endured from this horrific event.”
The attacks were traumatic for every American who lived through it, whether nearby or far away, just as it is for students who learn about it today.
“But it’s important for us never to forget the people who died and to never stop praying for peace,” she said.