A Kid’s Take: ‘It’s scary’ In words and pictures, children tell how they felt when terrorists attacked

September 19, 2001 | By Jean Nash Johnson

Sociologists Neil Howe and William Strauss view our kids as the next great generation. They are optimistic, patriotic; they are team players; they accept authority; and they follow the rules, they say.

If there ever is time that they will be tested, this is it.

They have been the most watched-over generation in memory, according to Mr. Howe and Mr. Strauss, who wrote Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (Vintage Books, 2000). They have had more structure and supervision than any other group in history. Aptitude-test findings show they also are smarter than most people think. Now the innocence is lost.

So how do they process the unspeakable events of last week? We asked students from Donna Park Elementary in Hurst to draw pictures and a group of sixth-graders at Kramer Elementary in Dallas to write essays expressing their thoughts on the Sept. 11 tragedy. Here are the drawings and excerpts from the essays.

‘Am I going to die?’

While all these lives were being destroyed I was in Texas at school scared. My principal didn’t want any kids to know this, but since my mom works at my school she told me. I went to my history class where my teacher had her radio on. My class listened silently. I thought to myself, is this war? Am I going to die? Will I never see my family again? My heart raced.

The principal said, “This is a world history class so get out your books and start reading.” I think this is history! What we are living through, our children will most likely be learning. I told my group this is like Pearl Harbor, but it is not. Our forces and weaponry are much stronger than they were, and we don’t know our enemy. The pictures and thoughts drifted back and forth in my head. All I could think about was this, and again I was terrified.

Thursday on my way to school I asked my mom if we could pray, so we did. I am just hoping that there will be many survivors and that the person who is responsible for this will be punished. I am too young to donate any blood, so I have decided to donate my birthday and allowance money, all I have to the Red Cross. I also think we should show respect for the citizens that died by tying red, white and blue ribbons to the trees on our campus and do the same at home. I am praying for the families and all the people of America. After this terrible attack on America I hope you’ve noticed how great it is to be an American and to be free.

Genny Peschke, 11

‘Angered, annoyed, scared and shocked’

I don’t think it’s the terrorists’ faults because of the way they were educated. They were just following their beliefs, but they know that killing won’t get them anywhere.

It really hurt me, seeing the people jumping off the building holding hands so that they wouldn’t burn to death. Suicide was their way out of their suffering. It’s scary that in so little time so many people can die.

As I watched the news on that day, I felt angered, annoyed, scared and shocked looking at the people in [the Middle East] celebrating. Death is not something you celebrate.

Something has to change in the terrorists’ way of life. They should not enjoy killing. Instead of killing to get what they want, they could take more sensitive actions like sitting down and talking to whoever they have problems with—thinking things out.

These people should be punished in some way or sent to jail but they should not be killed. Killing won’t solve anything.

Jesse Diaz, 12

‘I feel real worried’

I feel so sorry for the kids and parents who lost their families. I also feel sorry because I know how it feels to lose a relative. And when I saw that plane crash into the building I thought that the person who flew that plane is in big trouble because everybody is going to be mad.

When I saw it I was scared because my Uncle Matthew was in a building right across from one of the plane crashes. Fortunately, he’s fine. I just hope that the people who lost their families are all right. I feel really worried.

Cassy Rodriguez, 11

‘You will remember this day’

I was in my Language Arts class when I heard that airplanes were hijacked. My teacher, Ms. Bennett, tried to listen to it on the radio but our principal said that today was a learning day and that he didn’t know how some of the younger children would react.

But that didn’t keep our teacher from talking about it. She said, “Today is history, and you will remember this day for the rest of your lives.” I almost cried because my dad was out of town, and he was supposed to be coming back that day, but instead they closed down all airports.

All I heard on television that day was that the Twin Towers were hit. Then when I heard who Osama bin Laden was, I almost wanted to break everything in my house. My sadness was the only thing that was keeping me from doing that.

Just a month ago I was on top of the Empire State Building looking at two of the tallest towers in the world. Now all that scenery and beauty is a big cloud of ash and debris. When I was standing on top of the Empire I said to myself, “What creature could make a tower so big and mighty?” Now I wonder what creature could have done such a thing.

Benjamin Gallant, 11

‘America will get over this’

I was extremely sad about what happened on National 911 Day. After music on Tuesday I was walking back to class when my teacher told me what happened. I was shocked. My first reaction was World War III! We tried to hook the television up and watch the news, but once we got it working we were told to turn it off. So we turned the radio on and tried to listen. It was hard [because] we could not see what was happening.

After school I went to temple to pray for all those people who lost their lives, and couldn’t help but look outside to make sure that no plane was coming toward us. I was extremely scared. We also prayed for those grieving families and the people who were injured.

After what happened, I don’t want to be on an airplane for a long, long time. I did not go to Hebrew school on Wednesday, because I was sad about what happened and very nervous on what might happen because it is a temple.

I believe that America will get over this. Even though it is going to affect us by making us realize that we need to make our defense stronger and all the security stronger at airports and train stations. Hopefully, one day all the nations will be united.

Max Harris, 11

‘What will President Bush do?’

On the news, they said that they found out who did all this damage. They said they did this because it was part of their religion and that they don’t believe in what we do.

What kind of religion is this that they believe in? Now what will President Bush do after all this damage? I wonder if there is going to be war? I just hope nothing like this happens ever again.

Carolina Villalba, 11

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