Thursday, March 23, 2023
March 23, 2023

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Check It Out: Understanding how 9/11 changed world

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It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since the tragic events of 9/11. So much has happened in the past decade and a half, yet Sept. 11, 2001 remains crystal clear in my mind. Looking back at past “Check It Out” columns, I came across the column I wrote on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. In it I described what my husband and I were doing on that life-altering day in 2001 and how the news impacted our lives: “I remember that it was a beautiful, sunny day in Vancouver. My husband was washing his car, and I was packing for a road trip we were starting the next day. An ordinary day until everything changed. News of the planes flying into the World Trade Center stunned us, and when we heard about a plane also crashing into the Pentagon, the events taking place on the East Coast suddenly became personal. Anxiously awaited phone calls finally reassured us that our brother-in-law, in the Army at the time and frequently involved with work at the Pentagon, was not there when tragedy struck. But our relief was tempered by the horrible reality of thousands of people perishing in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Sitting in front of the television on Sept. 11, 2001, my emotions shifted from disbelief and sadness to anger at what had happened to our country.”

That day will be with me forever, but I also try to remember that there is a generation of children and young adults who know about Patriot Day only through the stories of others. They may understand that 9/11 was a significant day in history, but that isn’t the same as being a part of it, either directly or indirectly. Having conversations with our children and grandchildren is the best way to help them understand why 9/11 changed our world. But reading about 9/11 is another way to understand its significance. Several new children’s novels include the events of 9/11, offering fictionalized accounts of how that pivotal day in September 2001 affected the novels’ young protagonists both during and after the attacks:

• “Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story” by Nora Raleigh Baskin.

• “Somewhere Among” by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu.

• “Towers Falling” by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

The library also has several nonfiction titles about 9/11, including a heart-warming look at the rescue dogs who spent countless hours searching for survivors at Ground Zero. Readers will learn how over 300 search-and-rescue dogs worked their way through the rubble of the World Trade Center. It’s a lovely tribute to the dogs’ heroic efforts, as well as the incredible support given by the dogs’ handlers. n “Ground Zero Dogs” by Meish Goldish.

Take a moment during this Patriot Day to remember the 9/11 victims and their families. They shall not be forgotten.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at