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Sometimes, History is Sadness


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History is full of beautiful and wonderful things. You can probably think of many, like your first birthday and the day you got your latest favorite thing. People in your family probably remember great days like the day men walked on the moon or the day the Berlin Wall came down. Everyone you know has favorite days, days that they remember happily.

September 11 was different.

On September 11, a great many people died.

You probably already know the details. The big picture is that the World Trade Center, one of the most famous symbols of New York and of the United States, was destroyed. One airplane hit each of the two towers of the World Trade Center. Not long after those crashes, both towers collapsed. The Pentagon, the center of the U.S. Defense Department, was also hit by an airplane, and many people died there, too.

Farther away, another airplane that had been hijacked crashed in Pennsylvania. Everyone aboard was killed.

A great many people were injured, too. We probably won't know for days or even weeks how many people were hurt or died.

This is very sad. It's horrible. It's terrifying. It makes us all wonder what's next.

Many people (children and adults) looked up in fear whenever they heard a noise. Was it another airplane? Was it coming for them?

This terrible tragedy is affecting all of us in different ways. You might know someone who was there. You might have family members who are visiting New York or Washington and can't get home. The sadness extends far beyond the city of New York or Washington, D.C.

Sometimes, history is sad. History is full of terrible things, like long wars and terrible natural disasters. History is full of people dying and people being injured. It's a part of life, just as much a part of life as happiness and great things.

Older people you know can probably remember the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger or the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Those were terrible, horrible things, and people were terribly afraid for many days after each of those things happened. Now, many years later, we can look back on them and learn from them. Security in the space shuttle program, in nuclear power plants, and around the U.S. president is greater today.

When all is said and done, the attacks of September 11 will certainly result in one of the most terrible tragedies ever in history. But as you listen to the news and talk to your friends and family about this terrible day, try to remember that time will ease the pain people are feeling. People will recover, and heal, and the grief of the survivors will lessen.

If you have lost friends and family in this terrible tragedy, our hearts and thoughts go out to you.

Sometimes, only time lessens pain and grief.


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