Holidays, Homelife, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Remembering 9/11 with your Kids: Patriot Day

September 11 is a National Day of Service and Remembrance, Patriot Day, in memory of those killed in the September 11th attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City.  It is not a federal holiday so schools and businesses typically operate on a normal schedule, but many of us want to share a time of remembrance with our kids.

Most adults remember exactly where they were when the planes hit the towers and the news broke.

I was teaching math when the teacher next door to my 6th grade classroom leaned in and told me to turn on the television.  I remember feeling confused, scared and horrified as the second plane hit the tower.   Of course, very quickly, word came down from the administration that televisions had to be turned OFF!  This news was frightening, and many of our students attending this middle school in Maryland had parents working at the Pentagon that day.

My memory of that day is so vivid, yet my children weren’t even born.  They have no memories associated with the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 other than what I have shared.  But I want them to remember.  There are many ways to do this and here are some of the most helpful titles and sites I have found in my research.

Patriot Day with Kids

{This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support of Not Before 7}

Remember the Day with Observances

Personally, I will begin by reading a few of the past official Presidential Proclamations made on Patriot Day.  Each one is a little bit unique, but they all contain this section (the presidents name varies):

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2015, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.  I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  I invite the Governors of the United States and its Territories and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance.  I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Consider observing the moment of silence at 8:46 AM with your kids. Teach them the significance of the time and what it means to you to be silent at that moment.  If you have a flag, display it in honor of this day and look into observances being held in your local area.

Remember the Day with Videos

There are a ton of YouTube videos about the events on September 11, 2001.  The following are the most child-friendly that I discovered, though you will want to preview the images for your kids.

Remember the Day with Lessons

This 911 Memorial website has an entire section focused on teaching and learning ideas focused on the events of September 11th.

Check out this Everyday Heroes lesson for your elementary schoolers.

Scholastic has a lot of great background information in language easy for kids to understand.

Preschool activities on the Letter F for Flag can be found online.

How about a discussion of primary vs. secondary sources? This presentation on Prezi by Melissa Wright includes a variety of primary and secondary sources for you to discuss with your kids.  The 9/11 digital archive contains an overwhelming amount of information, but you could find more to add to your discussion for sure.

Education World has a list of ideas for classroom teachers that you can borrow for your home.

Remember the Day with Books

Picture Books

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez is the true story of a gift bestowed upon an American Diplomat by the Maasai people of Kenya.
Fireboat written and illustrated by Maira Kalman is the true story of a New York icon who helped in a time of need.
America is Under Attack by Don Brown is a non-fiction, straight-forward, and honest chronological account of the events of September 11, 2001.
Survivor Tree written by Cheryl Somers Aubin and illustrated by Sheila Harrington is a story of
hope and healing represented by the true story of a Callery Pear Tree.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein is another true story of a tightrope walker who spent an hour between the two towers in 1974. The book ends with a mention of the absence of these towers today. We own this book and adore it. There is actually a full length movie, released in 2015, about this historic event.

Upper elementary/middle – Use parental discretion

What were the Two Towers by Jim O’Connor is part of a kid-friendly series explaining historical people and event.
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhoades is the story of three friends in fifth grade as they discover how the historic events of 9/11 have impacted them and their community at large. One friend has a father suffering from chronic illness as a result of the events, one friend is Muslim, and another has a father who served in Iraq. This book takes a look at the historical event and its impacts on the social community.
Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin takes a look at the days leading up to September 11th and the impact of the event on the lives four middle school students.
Eleven by Tom Rogers is the story of a boy who turns 11 on September 11.

Older Teens – Use Parental Discretion

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills is a coming-of-age story about two girls whose lives intersect on September 11, 2001.
The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner is the story of two teenagers who meet after the towers fall, one of who has forgotten who she is.
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon is the most accessable adaptation of the 9/11 report for all Americans. This one is on MY list.

Remember the Day with Crafts

It’s hard for me to consider September 11 as a celebratory day.  The images and memories in my mind are very somber.  Yet part of what we remember are the stories of heroism and courage.  In our house, we will focus on this aspect as part of our remembering while enjoying crafts and food as part of a celebration of heroism in America.

Patriotic Lanterns are an easy way to decorate the house or yard.

These wind twirlers can be made from some paint and empty paper towel tubes.

Of course, this July 4th shirt I painted with my girls could easily be worn on Patriot Day.

This duct tape flag is a great idea for older kids and can be displayed on the front door. Or they could try this clothespin wreath for the door!

This flag mosiac using magazines presents a unique challenge.

These patriotic luminaries would look great on the porch, in the kitchen, or on your deck.

Patriotic Pebbles are a delight for all ages! Who doesn’t enjoy some rock painting?

Remember the Day with Food

Patriotic Pies in a Jar is a great dessert idea and can be varied easily with different shapes and pie flavors.

This American Flag Cheesecake is another dessert idea that the kids can help decorate.

I am partial to this Red, White, and Blue Poke cake because it is pretty easy and delicious.  I make it every July 4th and it works perfectly for Patriot Day as well.

Food Ideas for Patriot Day

Not sure if you can find red and blue M&M’s this time of year (might have to resort to online ordering), but this patriotic popcorn looks like a yummy snack!

Try thse Firecracker Hot Dogs.  My kids would really remember this hot dog lunch!

This easy taco salad dip can work for a patriotic dinner display.

My kids love deviled eggs.  Wonder how they’d feel about these red, white, and blue ones?

Finally, top off a meal with this Patriotic Punch for the kids.

Want to explore more food and craft ideas?  My Fourth of July Pinterest board has plenty of patriotic ideas.

Will your family participate in Patriot Day celebration or activities?

Previous Post Next Post

2 Comments

  • Reply Jenny White September 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    A wonderful compilation of ideas and links! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup: In Honor of September 11 | Forever Joyful September 12, 2016 at 6:02 am

    […] Remembering 9/11 With Your Kids: Patriot Day by Mary at Not Before 7 […]

  • Leave a Reply