GLADSTONE, MO (KCTV) -- How do you teach our nation’s most horrific memory, to those who only know a post September 11 world?

“That day, it feels so recent that it changes the way we think about everything else in history,” Lori Riddler, an elementary school teacher, said.

Riddler had her fifth and sixth grade students read stories written by people who were their age when September 11 happened.

They discussed what surprised them the most about the stories, like the dust that covered buildings blocks away from the twin towers and the sounds people heard in New Jersey.

They looked at a map to understand where it all occurred, but nothing on the internet can answer the most pressing question.

“Why? Why did this become reality?” Caelin Bradford, a 6th grader asked.

This lesson didn't include any nightmarish images from the day, but the students have seen them.

“When I saw pictures of after everything went down or a video of when the planes crashed into the twin towers, that was probably the scariest thing,” Layla Villanueva, a 6th grader, said.

They know the world is different now because of September 11.

“It’s a lot safer than what it was before,” Villanueva said.

Riddler says her students understand the magnitude of that day as best as anyone can.

“I think it’s just important to honor everyone that died and all of the policeman and firefighters. I think it’s just a big day in history,” Villanueva said.

What’s history to these students are vivid memories for many more Americans. But perhaps the children can teach us all something.

“If you live your life in fear, then you won’t have any fun. Then there’s no purpose in living if you don’t have fun,” Bradford said. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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