Never Forgotten: More than just a history lesson

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WTVY) -- Many remember exactly where they were on that fateful day when terrorists attacked, but 20 years later a new generation, one that began post 9/11, is learning how that solemn day changed our country forever.

For Enterprise High School history teacher Stephanie Underwood, the events of September 11th, 2001, are as clear now as they were then.

“We went to Larry’s barbecue, to eat lunch, and I remember it was all over the news and it was just like, you could have heard a pin drop in that restaurant it was the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed,” said Underwood.

Stephanie was in her freshman year of college when she watched the aftermath of 9/11 unfold on TV.

“I remember thinking that I was going to be a history teacher and witnessing this firsthand as it’s happening on the news was just a surreal experience.”

In those days, weeks and even months to follow, only a handful of memories remain.

“I remember Alan Jackson playing ‘Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning),’ I remember not hearing helicopters for a couple of days living right outside of Fort Rucker,” Underwood added.

Stephanie’s 10th-grade class, who range in age from 15 to 16 years, have no memories at all of the attacks taking place.

“My lesson really has evolved into a kind of first exposure for some kids, but the general knowledge is there,” Underwood explained.

For many, this isn’t their first time hearing about the historic moment.

EHS Sophomore Emory Betz recalls learning about the event as early as fifth grade.

“I have watched videos about it on my own and for school assignments in the past, but there are sometimes when it just gets really overwhelming to watch this stuff, so I had to pull myself back from it.”

“I was shocked that something like that had ever happened. It just made me feel really sad to learn about that.”

While Betz doesn’t have firsthand memories of the attacks, she remembers the aftermath.

“When I was younger, my dad was deployed for 15 months and it was scary, knowing that he was going somewhere dangerous where he could possibly get hurt.”

She also realizes that despite not living through the day, it’s just as important for her to learn.

“It feels like a chance for me to learn about my country and what has happened only years before I was alive in it. And, I think it’s important to know the people who I am around as well as things that I didn’t get to experience,” Emory said.

This week isn’t just another lesson plan it’s for learning, remembering, and never forgetting.

“We should always be very thankful for our liberties and our freedoms, and that we get to live in a country that we have so many great opportunities,” Underwood explained.

Alabama and Georgia are two of just 14 states that require 9/11 to be taught in the classroom.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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