1. Fact: Through television, radio, and internet broadcasts, it is estimated that about one-third of the world’s 6.1 billion people followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, as they were happening.
Personal Experience Question: How does Susan first hear of the attacks? Does your family retain a memory of when they first learned of the attack? What were their thoughts and feelings at the time? How did the media first portray the attacks and how did the accounts change as more information became available?
2. Fact: On the morning of September 11th American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 both departed from Boston. Both flights were headed to California and were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists who flew planes into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center (17 minutes apart at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m.). Two other planes were hijacked that morning to be used as weapons. As a result, over 3,000 children lost a parent that day and over 1,600 people lost a spouse.
Personal Experience Question: Susan says that she thinks the terrorists had a mission to spread hate. Why does she feel that anger is not the emotion that she wants to sustain? How will her mission counteract spreading hate? In what ways can you counter aggression through positive actions?
3. Fact: Several September 11th widows became activists and lobbied Congress to demand a full investigation and independent commission on the attacks. The commission created and published The 9/11 Commission Report, which was released in July 2004.
Personal Experience Question: Susan chose a different path for her activism. Why did she empathize with the plight of women in Afghanistan? How was her life as a widow in the United States different from that of widows in Afghanistan? Why do some people who are affected by tragedy commit themselves to political action?
4. Fact: Between 1979 and 1988, a war raged in Afghanistan between the Soviet Union and the local mujahideen (a group of opposition parties that rebelled against the Soviet occupation). The United States armed and trained the mujahideen to defeat the Soviets. When the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, internal fighting between factions of the mujahideen continued. Some of the mujahideen developed into the Taliban militia and gained political power. After decades of war, the people of Afghanistan remain impoverished. There are many widows and little opportunity for women under Taliban rule.
Personal Experience Question: Why is it important to Susan that the programs supported by Beyond the 11th give the widows in Afghanistan the opportunity to learn a skill? Before the attacks of September 11th, did you know anything about the Afghan people? Think about your future dreams and the role your education plays in attaining them.
5. Fact: After September 11th, hundreds of family members of the victims created foundations, scholarships, and organizations to conduct charitable acts in memory of their loved ones.
Personal Experience Question: Susan co-founded an organization to support widows in Afghanistan. What can you do in your own community to commemorate September 11th in a positive way?