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Teachers apply lesson of 9/11 to students who didn't live through it

Entire generation wasn't alive for 9/11 attacks

It's been 18 years since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Many people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on that day, but today, there is almost an entire generation that wasn't alive on that fateful day.

They are learning about the attacks and seeing images from that day in school.

Patty Fantazian, acting special agent in charge of Transportation Security Administration investigations and previously a Secret Service agent, talks to students about the effect 9/11 had on the United States and how they, too, feel its impact, whether they know it or not.

Sept. 11 was the day al-Qaida hijackers took control of four passenger airplanes full of jet fuel and used them to fly into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in our nation's capital. One plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Both towers fell, and almost 3,000 people were killed that day.

"It's a strange feeling because normally when you talk to someone, they know exactly where they were when it happened, and now you're speaking to these students who were not even born yet," Fantazian said.

Her lessons today are vitally important to educating the next generation.

"Of kids that were not born before 9/11 but they're learning about 9/11, and I can tell you as a teacher it's very different between the two," she said. "And you didn't have to teach the years after how many planes there were or what was hit or who was responsible, that sort of thing. And it's no fault of theirs they weren't there for it."

Edison Siver is a student who said reading about 9/11 is like reading about any other war in history.

"It just feels like another part of the wars that we've learned about because I wasn't alive for it or there for it," he said. "I've just heard so many stories, but you don't actually comprehend it."

This class aims to change that.

Fantazian not only explains the attack, but how it changed our country and our travel. 

"There were only 33 air marshals the day before 9/11 happened that flew only international missions," she said. "The Federal Air Marshal Service where they hired approximately 3,000 federal air marshals to fly domestic and international flights."

The next generation of Americans is learning about one of our country's darkest days from someone who experienced it.

"So when you teach them this is what happened before and this is what's happening after, they start making connections," said Dr. Nick Hamblin, a history teacher. "'Oh, that's why the president does this. Oh, that's why the airport is like this.' But that's what it is it makes history more relevant to the kids."