Friday, September 11, 2009

Fortress of New York

The New York Times is running an article entitled, "A Fortress that Didn't Come to Be." The article states, "It was a city humbled and scared, where the possibilities of destruction had been recalibrated. It was Sept. 12, 2001. The day after...New York would become a fortress city, choked by apprehension and resignation, forever patrolled by soldiers and submarines. Another attack was coming. And soon."

The article explains, "Eight years later, those presumptions are cobwebbed memories that never came to pass. Indeed, glimpses into a few aspects of the city help measure the gap between what was predicted and what actually came to be."

Questions for Younger Children
1. Do you think that it is possible to know what is going to happen tomorrow? Why or why not? What kinds of things can we know will happen tomorrow? What kinds of things won't we know until tomorrow comes?

2. How do you think that this school will be different ten years from now? Come up with as many different ideas as possible?

3. Do you have an imaginary friend? (Have you ever had an imaginary friend?) Tell us about your imaginary friend? Why do you think that kids soemtimes create imaginary friends?

4. Have you ever been afraid that something would happen? Why were you afraid of this thing happening? Did the thing end up happening? Why or why not?

Questions for Older Students
1. Vocabulary terms to discuss: Humbled; Incoherent; Novelty; and, Mandated.

2. According to the article, "Christopher Gravagna didn’t feel right that people had to buy their patriotism (when they bought flags). 'That was ridiculous,' he said. 'Why should people capitalize on flags at that time?'” Do you agree with Mr. Gravagna? Why or why not? Try and argue the question from both perspectives.

3. Why do you think that the expectations that people had of New York City on September 12, 2001, did not come true? Do you think it says anything about the nature of the American people that New York City did not change as much as people expected? Why or why not? Is it good, bad or perhaps both good and bad?

4. If you could go back in time to September 12, 2001 and tell something to the worried people, what would you say? Even if they truly believed that you came back in time, do you think that you could say something to make them feel better? Why or why not?

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