Never Forget, Even Though You All Know How This Story Ends

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2 mins read

In the weeks following 9/11, I decided to journal some of what happened on that day. I recently came across my notes, and rereading them all these years later still brings chills.

I was teaching 7th grade. A colleague ran into my room, shaking, and said, “The World Trade Center was hit by a plane!” We had no iPhones or laptops or access to the outside world. I took my students into a friend’s classroom and we sat around her radio, listening as events unfolded.

We later walked down the third-floor hall where we could see the towers from our building, and we watched as smoke filled the air. I saw a friend pacing back and forth, crying because she couldn’t reach her sister who worked in One World Trade Center.

A friend and I walked outside. The debris from the building engulfed us, leaving a gritty feeling in our mouths, as if you could taste the horror of the day’s events. We hugged in silence, unable to comprehend what was happening.

You all know how this story ends.

Twenty years. A whole generation of people who are now adults didn’t live through that day. Tell your story. Share your pain and how you’ve healed. Teach this generation how the human spirit allows us to simultaneously be angry, compassionate, brave, and resilient. Honor the memories of those we lost. Never forget.

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This article originally appeared as a Twitter thread.


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Leyna Hanan knows that successful students become successful adults. During her tenure as a New York City public school teacher, her most valuable teaching tool is encouraging the power of voice. This passion led her to embark on a journey with the Vote In Or Out team. She is currently the Director of Social Media and Youth Outreach for Vote In Or Out, a non-partisan grassroots platform designed to educate citizens and give the power back to the people (voteinorout.com). Leyna is also an activist, working to help uplift voices and ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. In 2020, she co-chaired Women’s March NYC Rise and Roar, striving to bring the divided city together to create transformative social change. Leyna believes in the power an individual holds, and she knows that Vote In Or Out has the power to transform political discourse and save our democracy.

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