9:11This morning, September 11, I caught the dance and music performance of Table of Silence by the Buglisi Dance Theater on Lincoln Center Plaza. It is a 9/11 tribute that premiered on the tenth anniversary of the attacks and has been performed every September 11 since then The performers cradle empty plates in their hands. Are they offering? Or are they asking? And at 8:46—the time when the first airplane plowed into the World Trade Center 13 years ago—100 dancers look up and open their arms to the sky as a bell tolls in the distance. This prayer for peace through sound and motion is how choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi tells the world her experience of 9/11.

Watching the performance over the shoulder of a little girl reminds me of the care we use when we tell children stories of tragedy and disaster. I remember explaining the events of that day to Max when he was 5. We are putting together an old puzzle of NYC which included a drawing of the twin towers. Maybe he asked about them. Maybe I simply wanted to share the story because it is part of history. I don’t mention the people jumping out of windows, nor the smell that lingered over the city for days, nor how frightened we all were because we did not know if there would be more terror to come. I only say that there were once two very tall towers in NYC. Some very angry people crashed two airplanes into them and brought the buildings tumbling down. A lot of people died.

A simple story. And still he asked the same question as the rest of us. “Why?”

 

How Do You Tell the Story of 9/11 to a Child?
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9 thoughts on “How Do You Tell the Story of 9/11 to a Child?

  • September 12, 2014 at 9:34 am
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    Yes it cane be hard explaining history to young children. They have a hard time remembering yesterday. Hopefully we can all learn from this.

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    • September 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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      Lol. Yeah, I have a hard time remembering yesterday myself.

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  • September 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm
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    All these years later, it’s my question, too. Sounds like you answered in just the right way, however.
    🙂
    Traci

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  • September 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm
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    We have had our share of tragedy to explain to the little people in our family. We always try to keep it simple. They always ask why. You are right, we all want to know.

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  • September 12, 2014 at 8:48 pm
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    …and still, there is no answer that covers it adequately.

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    • September 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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      What’s scary is that the discontent and hatred that led to 9/11 attacks has only festered and grown since then.

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  • September 13, 2014 at 10:19 am
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    Beautiful video. I hadn’t seen that. It’s sad we live in a world where we have to explain such things to children.

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    • September 13, 2014 at 11:33 am
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      Yes, it’s a beautiful piece. I hadn’t expected to cry—9/11 was so long ago—but at 8:46 when their arms opened up, I couldn’t stop the tears, I even saw one of the performers cry.

      Reply
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