JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With 9/11 being 19 years ago, most high school students were not born yet. Several teachers in their 20′s barely remember the event.
Valley View High School Teacher Gunner Cook was only five when the event took place.
Cook says on the day of 9/11, he remembers going to school and watching the news with his mom and grandmother, but not much more than that.
To refresh his memory, he watches videos and old news reports. Just like his students, he’s relying on past footage to understand what happened.
He said that his students have a hard time getting interested in history, especially when they haven’t lived it. To make them understand the impact, Cook shows them how lives were lost, and the country was in pain.
“I’ve found as a history teacher, and especially when it comes to events like 9/11, the best way to get them interested and engaged in it, to understand and relate if they can is to just show them all the stuff that went into it, emotionally. Put the drama that happened and put it into perspective,” said Cook.
Cook did just that by showing videos of Flight 157 crashing into the Twin Towers, the towers falling, and former President George W. Bush’s address to the nation.
He said the visual elements were essential to make students truly understand. He had students approach him and express how they never truly understood the event until they were able to see it for themselves.
“The big takeaway that I pushed to them- I said, ‘I understand that you’re not going to know how emotionally stressed the country was during that time because you didn’t live through it. Probably didn’t lose any immediate family in the event. The biggest thing was how united people were after the event'... America was so united after 9/11. People came together regardless of background, color, race, anything, and they wanted to see something done about what happened," said Cook.