"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 11 September 2010

September the 11th and a 'Bridge Too Far'

Dedicated to all who have died or suffered as a result of all wars and violence everywhere.

Say the words 'Twin Towers' and most people will remember exactly where they were on September the 11th, 2001 as the news started filtering through about the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. I had just finished teaching the last class of the day in a comprehensive school and was in my office with a colleague when her husband - also a teacher - rushed in and told us about the first attack. We ran down to the staff room just in time to see the second 'plane fly into the second tower and amid silence joined the other staff watching in disbelief. After about 40 minutes I drove home, still in disbelief listening to radio 4. Arrived home, turned the TV on - sitting stunned in front of it - soon joined by Youngest Child [then a teenager]and Other Half who came home early from work on hearing the news. We sat like this for hours - occasionally taking and making 'phone calls when we heard that offices in London had been evacuated/'locked down' to find friends and relatives. An awful night.

Ironically I was teaching history at the time, and this was only the second week of term. I had been doing 'the importance of dates' with the new intake classes and in trying to get them to 'identify' with the whole concept of history being 'built' I would fire dates at them: '1066', '1812', '3rd September 1939'asking if anyone knew what had happened then and would always add in a more recent date. That week for a laugh I had added 8th September 2001 because there had been a big football game on that day and England had won something [for the life of me I can't remember what] The next time I had to teach that lesson, on September the 12th I just couldn't do it in a lighthearted manner. I just told the children that they had witnessed something so momentous and dreadful that they must surely know without any more explanation how history was 'made'.

Why am I talking about this and not paying tribute to those who died or the brave individuals of the emergency services or offering sympathy to the victims and their families? Because all that has to be a given, as my dedication 'headline' should tell you. War and violence are so bad that every day we should all remember all victims if the same mistakes are not to be made again. Teaching history is part of that remembering and just as this month has seen and heard many TV and radio programmes remembering the Blitz of 70 years ago here in the UK, September is also the month of the commemorations in Holland of 'Operation Market Garden', the subject of the book [by Cornelius Ryan] and film A Bridge Too Far about the battle for the bridge at Arnhem in World War Two. My Beloved Uncle [mentioned in the Ryan book] was in this battle, shot, taken prisoner and fortunately survived to tell the tale which his son put into a book so that we could all remember and not forget. If you would like to read more about these commemorations in Holland click on the title above to take you to the link.

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.
Bob Dylan

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