Teaching 9-11 with Help From Springsteen

Are you a teacher who is trying to figure out how to teach the meaning of September 11th to your students?  A San Diego music teacher will be getting some help from “The Rising,” Bruce Springsteen’s musical reflection on the tragic events of a decade ago.  Here is a taste from a piece at the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The seats in the Mt. Carmel High School performing arts center were nearly empty, but when Robert Pacilio ran through his lesson plan, the room was full. Full of music. Full of words. And full of the hope that a 55-year-old retired teacher and a 61-year-old rock ‘n’ roll star could help a few hundred teenagers make sense of a 10-year-old tragedy.

On Tuesday, Pacilio will use songs from Bruce Springsteen’s 2002 album “The Rising” to lead his student audience through the turbulent emotional journey that swept up Americans in the days following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.

And while Springsteen sings about heroic firefighters, missing fathers and that empty place in the sky where the Twin Towers used to be, Pacilio will be showing slides of iconic 9/11 images and doing his best to make this painful piece of history mean something to the people who are least likely to care.

These kids were five, six and seven when 9/11 happened, and they don’t really get it,” Pacilio said this week, as he rehearsed his presentation in the school’s theater. “A lot of kids say, ‘What does this have to do with me?’ But when I’m done, they’ll think, ‘This does have something to do with me because I live in America.’ ”