Archive for Sunday, September 11, 2011

Indelible effects: 9/11 has lasting impact on children, parents, teachers

September 11, 2011

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Ten-year-old Ahmed Jakmouj is pictured with his parents, Lahsen and Melissa Jakmouj, on Friday in their Lawrence home. Although there have been no incidents, the two parents acknowledge hearing concerns about their son’s name after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ten-year-old Ahmed Jakmouj is pictured with his parents, Lahsen and Melissa Jakmouj, on Friday in their Lawrence home. Although there have been no incidents, the two parents acknowledge hearing concerns about their son’s name after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, second-grade students at Quail Run School, 1130 Inverness Drive, handed out treat trays to firefighters from Station 3 on Friday as part of a salute to first responders from the area. Lincoln Smith, center, and Elizabeth Newman gave a tray of cookies to Mark Campbell.

In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, second-grade students at Quail Run School, 1130 Inverness Drive, handed out treat trays to firefighters from Station 3 on Friday as part of a salute to first responders from the area. Lincoln Smith, center, and Elizabeth Newman gave a tray of cookies to Mark Campbell.

Ahmed Jakmouj was just 6 weeks old on 9/11.

“Change his name,” a family friend begged Ahmed’s parents. “Don’t make his life harder.”

The friend was also named Ahmed. He was a professor back home in Morocco, where baby Ahmed’s father was from. He knew the world, and he saw discrimination in the baby’s future. Having a Muslim name surely would be a handicap in a world where terrorists claiming the faith murdered thousands.

But Ahmed’s parents didn’t listen. They had named their son Ahmed Jerome, in honor of his grandfathers — one Muslim, the other Catholic — and they were keeping the name.

Ten years later, Ahmed’s mother doesn’t think the name has set her son back. In his class at Deerfield School, there are all sorts of names.

“They’re just growing up in such a less-segregated world,” said Ahmed’s mother, Melissa Jakmouj. “There is such an array of different colors in his classroom that I don’t think he feels like he’s different, or that his name separates him.”

Ahmed said he and his friends don’t talk about 9/11 much. If they do, they’ll say it was a sad day, or that the terrorists made a terrible choice.

His parents have taught him about the day, too. They teach that hate and violence are never the answer. They also teach Ahmed some of the historical factors that gave rise to terrorism.

Ahmed, who learns about his mother’s Catholicism and his father’s Islam, said he isn’t bothered by talk that Muslims were to blame for the attacks.

“It doesn’t really offend me because I didn’t do it,” he said.

For children, the attacks might seem as far away as the much older tragedies told by black and white photographs in their social studies books. For parents of these children, there was a palpable sense that the world they had brought their babies into had grown more dangerous.

“You feel this overwhelming sense of tenderness and vulnerability for you and your child,” said Lauren Reinhold. “I think it was definitely exacerbated by what was going on.”

Reinhold’s son Miles Clasen was born Sept. 11, 2001. She didn’t know about the attacks until nearly 11 a.m., a little after Miles was born. In the days following 9/11, she and her husband knew far less than their friends and families about what was going on because they intentionally avoided media so they could concentrate on the experience of parenthood.

Still, they could not shake feeling that the world had changed. When Miles was 1 month old, there were reports of anthrax being sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Reinhold would eye mailboxes warily.

One Lawrence mother saw that more dangerous world and decided to change it. Stacy Robarge-Silkiner switched her career from early-childhood education to emergency preparedness. She now works for FEMA and has written emergency plans for the New York Port Authority.

“I want my community, my children and my family to be safe,” Robarge-Silkiner said. “I can’t carry a hose up 150 flights of stairs, but I can write a plan that tells you how to do it.”

Teaching 9/11

For the people educating children who were not yet born or who cannot remember 9/11, handling the anniversary is delicate work.

Becky Reaver, a fifth-grade teacher at Cordley School, said there were many important lessons to be learned from 9/11. She and her colleagues in education were having serious conversations about how to handle it.

She said her students might be too young to grasp the complex issues — from war to international politics — that 9/11 brings up.

“They often want to know more, but they do not always have the depth of knowledge or emotional maturity to process or handle some of the things they might uncover,” Reaver wrote in an email. “If they want to talk about it, I will let them and guide their conversation and try to answer their questions in a truthful and sensitive way.”

Representatives from several elementary schools said they were not holding any special remembrances. Other schools chose to use the anniversary to say thank you to first responders. At Quail Run School last Friday, second-graders prepared snack trays and presented them to local firefighters and police officers.

A bright spot

Miles Clasen turns 10 today.

In his family, 9/11 is not a day of mourning, but a day to celebrate Miles.

“It still manages for us to give a bright spot to that day,” Reinhold said.

Miles did not know his birthday was a significant date in world history until he went to school and an older boy expressed disbelief that he had been born on such an inauspicious day.

But Reinhold doesn’t think her son is disturbed by his birthday. It’s just another thing that makes Miles Miles.

“The other day he said, ‘My birthday is coming up.’ I said, ‘I know, I keep hearing that in the news.’”

Comments

SinoHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

While I understand the meaning of this article and am glad that Ahmed hasn't felt any discrimination, I nevertheless feel that the LJWorld placing this article front and center on 9/11 to be a bit of a poor decision. 9/11 affected all of us--most in a deeply personal way--and the act of suprise that Americans behaved themselves in the years since 9/11 takes away emphasis of the profound affects that this attack had on the other 310+ million Americans that don't have an Islamic-sounding name.

I don't have any issues with this article's content, but it shouldn't be the lede on LJW.com, IMHO.

Linda Endicott 3 years, 7 months ago

Considering all the hate that some people in this country have felt toward Muslim people since 9/11 (most recently the arguments against the Islamic cultural center in NY), I think the article is very important...it in no way takes anything away from the millions of people affected by 9/11...it merely illustrates what one particular family has or has not gone through...

Having an article about 9/11 (or something related to it) on 9/11 is entirely appropriate...if you have a problem with it, then you are free not to read it...

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

And also free to post how ridiculous and inappropriate the placement and timing of it was. Tomorrow would have been a better day to run it. Islamic culture is the last thing anyone should care about today, particularly, or at Ground Zero...ever. Get real about what happened, where it happened, and who committed it.

Linda Endicott 3 years, 7 months ago

In my opinion, you're the one being ridiculous...yes, you are free to post what you think on these forums...even after 9/11, you're still free to do that...

You don't commemorate an event the day after...when do you commemorate Memorial Day? August?

But the comment you made at the end shows me that those parents do still have to worry about hatred and biogtry...the kind of bigotry that you just showed...that little boy had nothing to do with 9/11...yet you make it sound that just because a person is a Muslim, somehow they aren't as good as you, and shouldn't be acknowledged at all...and that's wrong...might be your true feelings, but it's still wrong...

They weren't talking about Islamic culture...they were talking about one little boy who's parents were worried about what he might have to live with because of Islamic culture...and the hatred that people like you still spread...

And 9/11 was committed by individuals who had the same kind of hatred toward our culture...it wasn't committed by all Muslims...

Linda Endicott 3 years, 7 months ago

In my opinion, you're the one being ridiculous...yes, you are free to post what you think on these forums...even after 9/11, you're still free to do that...

You don't commemorate an event the day after...when do you commemorate Memorial Day? August?

But the comment you made at the end shows me that those parents do still have to worry about hatred and biogtry...the kind of bigotry that you just showed...that little boy had nothing to do with 9/11...yet you make it sound that just because a person is a Muslim, somehow they aren't as good as you, and shouldn't be acknowledged at all...and that's wrong...might be your true feelings, but it's still wrong...

They weren't talking about Islamic culture...they were talking about one little boy who's parents were worried about what he might have to live with because of Islamic culture...and the hatred that people like you still spread...

And 9/11 was committed by individuals who had the same kind of hatred toward our culture...it wasn't committed by all Muslims...

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

Your comment makes my head hurt...I must be allergic to stupid.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

Pro-tip: Don't type what the voices in your head tell you to type. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZlBUg...

SinoHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

I was a Sophomore at LHS on 9/11, and remember overhearing something on the radio during 0-hour physics. By 1st hour, we were aware that something horrible had taken place, but had no access to TV to watch. My strongest impression of that day was during 6th-hour, when we went outside for marching band. The sky was devoid of clouds, and devoid of all jetstreams saving for some from the southeast. I later learned that those were Air Force One's while heading to Nebraska. After class, I went home and was glued to CNN--what a horrible, horrible day.

I think--more than all else--that we should focus on the thousands of civilians who were attacked without reason. We should also reflect on whether the actions that we took since 9/11 were the correct ones, in my opinion.

number3of5 3 years, 7 months ago

I too, have a daughter born on September 11, but the year was 1971. Should I quit celebrating the day of her birth just because of a tragedy that befell the nation. It is over, it is done. Its history, let it go America. But then I know you will when something the news media feels is a greater tragedy, just as they let go of the Oklahoma bombing. Why we let the news media feed our fears is beyond me.

urinal_world 3 years, 7 months ago

no one is saying you should stop celebrating your daughters birthday because she was born on 9/11. Yes, 9/11 is history but it was the biggest attack our country has ever had and to "let it go" and not remember it would be wrong. We need to honor those who passed away on that horrible day.

Linda Endicott 3 years, 7 months ago

You know, this reminds me of what my ex bf said to me once, about moving on after our relationship was over...to him, moving on meant getting involved with someone else...if you hadn't done that, then you hadn't moved on...of course, it didn't mean that at all...I moved on, but without getting involved again...

Let it go? We don't let history go...if we do, we have failed to learn any lessons from it at all...we have moved on from World War II...but we have not let it go...we still think about it, and honor those few veterans still with us, and those no longer with us...we view pictures, and read stories about it, still...the same is true of Oklahoma City or Waco, or anything else traumatic that happened in the past...every year on the anniversary of those events, we still have news articles about them...and remember...

That's as it should be...

You remember all the momentous occasions in your own life, such as the birth of your daughter...you remember, and you celebrate the good ones, and honor the bad ones...but you still remember...

That's as it should be, too...

I'm sorry if someone was callous enough to suggest to you that you shouldn't celebrate your daughter's birthday today...it was very unfeeling of them...but don't take it out on the rest of us because some clod said something hurtful to you...

You can do both, you know...celebrate your daughter today, and still remember and honor the tragedy in 2001...

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

We can't let it go or else the fear of the turrurists will fade.

deec 3 years, 7 months ago

"I think--more than all else--that we should focus on the thousands of civilians who were attacked without reason."

"God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the Towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bin_Laden

Alceste 3 years, 7 months ago

As of today there have been 1680 U.S. Fatalities in and around Afghanistan

http://icasualties.org/oef/ByTheatre.aspx

The two most recent deaths are: Spc. Koran P. Contreras, 21, of Lawndale, Calif.

        Pfc. Douglas J. Jeffries Jr., 20, of Springville, Calif.

"The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device Sept. 8 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y."

http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14778

How many more fellow Americans need to die or be maimed in this senseless carnage?

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Alceste 3 years, 7 months ago

Incorrect: The inane stupidity that goes along with simplethought.....that what's going down in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc. is somehow "protecting" the US of A is amusing. Personal rights and freedoms have been encroached upon and even restricted thanks to the Patriot Act and others as a direct result of these ridiculous wars.

Now we're bogged down in a land war in SW Asia. First SE Asia....we learned nothing from that.....now we're stuck in SW Asia accomplishing very little, if anything.....except getting US soldiers killed. They're pawns for Mr. Charlie, "OutlawJHawk". Pawns. How many more need to die or be crippled for life for nothing?

Oh, and when we leave Iraq.....could somebody remember to bring back the oil.....Bush forgot it the last time. We always forget the good parts.....you know.....the spoils.

The US of A ain't doing nothing in that sector of the world except making Mr. Charlie even more wealthy. shrug

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Celeste, you love your oil as much as every American. And since you have this great knowledge about oil, invest in some oil company stock so you can get rich too and stop being so jealous. Or do you just hate capitalism. I do agree with you and think we should take every drop of oil from Iraq until the cost of the war is paid off. US troops, thank you for protecting cheap oil for us, it has provided us and Alceste the standard of living we love and enjoy. The computer Celeste uses to type his/her posts is made of petroleum products. Without your sacrifice, we would be communicating with two cans connected by a string. Because of our troops, Arab terrorists are forced to communicate that way. Oh and BTW, my cousin lost his leg fighting in Afghanistan and he hates you for your comments minimalizing his sacrfice as do the families of other soldiers. He never will be a pawn in our eyes, you maggot.

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

And this whole article would have been unnecessary...

OutlawJHawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Hate our politicians, love our soldiers.

tomatogrower 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, what do you do? The government hasn't bothered me anymore, except when I fly. Maybe you should check your in with your therapist. That plane flying overhead isn't spying on you. It's ok.

grammaddy 3 years, 7 months ago

Are we really where we want to be(or need to be) 10 years later? Have we learned anything at all from this?Is war ever the answer to anything?

Cai 3 years, 7 months ago

You're asking the wrong questions.

"Are we really where we want to be(or need to be) 10 years later?" This question is far, far too subjective, and has little to do with being attacked. Many, many things contribute to this.

"Have we learned anything at all from this?" Yes. Too many Americans have learned that Muslims should be feared and hated, when this is not the case. Too many Americans have learned that we must sacrifice too many of our freedoms in the name of 'prevention'. Too many Americans learned that foreigners are evil, and might makes right. Too many Americans learned that unstructured retaliation against not only foreigners (on whom we wrongly blame 'terrorism') but also against our own citizens is sanctioned and encouraged. Rather ask about the value. What can we learn that is useful that we haven't yet learned? How can we continue to learn lessons of unity, indomitable spirits, and endurance from this?

"Is war ever the answer to anything?" Again, each situation is different. Regardless of the value, use, morality, or lack thereof in the war that these attacks created, there are very definitive times when war IS the answer. When we're invaded, for example. Also, are you suggesting we ought to have left well enough alone in Europe in 1914 or 1942? I'm sure you didn't mean to suggest those things, but by asking the wrong question, you did. Questioning war's value and use is certainly necessary. But rather ask "Is this war actually helping us to solve a problem? Is there a different way that we can solve the same problems? What are the cons to those methods, and does the comparison of pros and cons make the different way better? Have we even considered a different way, or is "Me smash!" now our knee-jerk reaction?

Introspection and internal validation are extremely important. But in order to get use out of them, you need to be asking the right questions.

grammaddy 3 years, 7 months ago

Seems like you've answered my questions. We've learned ALL the wrong lessons.Bigotry,hatred and war are not the answers to anything.We're supposed to be the smartest species on the planet. Why have we not evolved from resorting to violence to solve disagreements?We were not attacked by Afghanis or Iraqis.How have those wars benefitted anyone?

Cai 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you on bigotry and hatred.

But War..... War is sometimes the only correct response. I won't pretend to know when. But, unfortunately.....

number3of5 3 years, 7 months ago

The only thing I feel Americans have learned from this is to fear. Then news media and the government keep feeding this to us. If we leave them alone they will leave us alone. Bring our soldiers home. Keep America's nose out of other countries.

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