CLEVELAND — Like many people around the country, two Northeast Ohio teachers can remember exactly where they were when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred, but not everyone is tasked with teaching the next generation about the tragic event like they are.
Miguel Nieves was a teacher in Brooklyn in 2001 and was on the subway trying to get to work when the first plane struck the World Trade Center that Tuesday morning.
While Nieves was not in either tower that day, his friend who worked at a restaurant in the towers was and sadly didn't make it out.
Now, teaching at Marion C. Seltzer School in Cleveland, Nieves is taking his experiences from that day and using them to help his students understand what happened.
"I don't go to in deep because right now I'm working with fourth and fifth grade and they don't understand because by that time they [weren't] born. But at least we give our little history of what happened, how that world changed, how the United States changed," Nieves said.
Crystal Wiece teaches at Willson Elementary School in Cleveland, but 20 years ago on Sept. 11 she was starting her first year as an educator in Columbus.
Wiece remembers the teachers turning on the TVs in every classroom and watching the news coverage of the attacks. Her students then didn't understand what was happening, and truthfully neither did she at the moment. Still, she did what she could to explain and comfort her students.
"Just going through the reality of the situation with them was heart wrenching and difficult because you have to kind of keep it together yourself. But you also want them to understand and have that greater understanding of what's going on," Wiece said.
Like other educators around the country, Nievens and Wiece have the daunting task of making sure the next generation not only knows what happened on that fateful day but that they also have at least some understanding of the true impact that day had on this nation, its citizens and the world.
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