LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Friday marks 19 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Many Americans remember exactly where they were when the terror attacks happened, but many elementary school kids weren’t born yet.
Brandon Graves, a JCPS elementary teacher, was living in Washington D.C. at the time attending Howard University.
“I woke up, I went to class,” Graves said. “It was an early class. One plane had hit one of the buildings.”
Graves said at that time, no one understood what was happening or what was still to come. He said people thought the first plane hitting the tower was an accident. He was sitting in a class that morning. He believes it was a math class.
“Somebody came and whispered in my teacher’s ear,” Graves recalled. “And she said, ‘I think something is going on at the Pentagon. I’m not sure but they are asking that you all evacuate the building,’ and by the time I got to my dorm room, the second plane had hit.”
Nineteen years later, Graves is teaching the next generation about the very moment that helped define his generation.
“It’s like, ‘Oh, I was there so I can answer questions that aren’t in the book,’” Graves explained.
He said he often hears students ask questions like whether he was scared and why it happened. So, he is now teaching students about the attacks through the Global Game Changers new 9/11 Lesson.
Students like 4th grader Kavion Ford are learning about the terror attacks for the first time in their lives.
“[It makes me] sad,” Ford said, “because all of those people died.”
Global Game Changers received a three-year grant for this project. It was originally planned to be an in-person experience with a “museum on wheels” traveling to schools, but COVID-19 forced them to move to online.
Co-founder Jan Helson said they are expecting the program to reach at least 10,000 kids nationwide.
“We felt that kids should always understand and learn from history,” Helson said.
Helson said she is hopeful this will encourage kids to find heroes in everyday life. They are also hopeful the 9/11 Lesson will serve as a reminder during the COVID-19 pandemic that things will get better.
“We want them to know that even in times of adversity, that they can persevere,” Helson said. “They can be resilient; that they have the core competencies to do that. And that there is hope for better in the future.”
Helson said they are encouraging kids to launch their own service projects in the COVID-19 pandemic, as they continue to learn about first responders and other real-life superheroes of 9/11.
If you would like your child to be a part of this program or would like to learn more, click here.
There will be an event Friday, Sept. 11, from 5-9 p.m. at the St. Matthews Pavilion for parents and children to learn more about the project. Ehrler’s Ice Cream will be there and is donating ice cream sales to the 9/11 Lesson.