Pittsford, N.Y. - They have never known a world without the threat of terrorism.
But high school seniors are among the first of the post 9/11 generation with few memories of that day.
“I felt a little confused,” says Eddie Adamides, recalling the day the terrorist attacks occurred.
In 2001, a class of seniors at Pittsford Mendon High School was in the first grade, forming their first impressions of life.
“I had Miss Saunders in the first grade,” recalls Grace Parke. She has one vivid memory of September 11. “I just remember the rest of the day seeing teachers crying and being really, really confused,” she says. “When I got home from school that day I was still really confused.”
Those feelings, more than real details are just beginning to make sense. “As a first grader I knew it was bad, tragic,” says Adamides. “But the older you get the more you comprehend that this happened.”
What happened on that day is not really history because these kids lived through it. But many of them were only six or seven years old and at best have spotty memories based on the actions of the adults around them.
On this 9/11 anniversary, the seniors in Amy Shannon’s mass media class are watching a documentary called ‘In Memoriam.”
It shows people jumping from the top floors of the twin towers to escape the smoke and fire and other startling images. They are images well known to their parents but images that are, to them, fresh and raw.
“What resonated with you?” asks teacher Amy Shannon.
“When the planes hit, that really struck me,” says a male student.
“I had never seen the plane really hit the building before,” said another.
“When I started teaching this three or four years ago, the students were in 4th or 5th grade (at the time of the attacks) so those memories were sticking with them,” says Shannon.
Not so much these days.
Most of the teens carry cell phones and appreciated that much of the footage of the documentary was collected from ordinary people who witnessed the attacks 11 years ago. They also appeared solemn and moved.
Filling in the blanks of her memory is emotional. “It shows the truth and not having seen much of that before, it's definitely hard to watch,” says Grace Parke. “But I think it’s necessary.”
Ask what the take-away is for his generation: “When tragedy happens I feel that you are bonded together,” Eddie Amadimes said.