Children of a new generation learn patriotism, pride

Parents and teachers reassure children they are safe in post-9/11 era

POSTED: 03:33 AM PST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 02:40 PM PDT Sep 11, 2013 
Students attend Patriot Day Assembly at Cahuilla Elementary School
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- -

Mother of four Silvia Signoret does what she can to teach her young children about what happened on September 11, 2001.

"We watched some of 9/11 on TV this morning, and we do that every year so they don't forget," says Signoret.

She does so cautiously, knowing that it can be an overwhelming topic.

"It's a little scary for them watching it, and they have a hard time understanding why it happened," she explains as she holds her youngest, a toddler, in her arms, "but my husband and I try to explain that there are some people out there who don't make very good choices."

Students at Cahuilla Elementary School in Palm Springs listened as police and firefighters reassured them that there are people in the community working to keep them safe.

"They'll see a lot on TV today with Patriot Day, with patriotism," says Principal Dr. Denise Ellis. "We really feel it's important to keep them informed and let them know that this did happen, but they're safe today."

"It made me feel proud because so many people went out to try to save people, they risked their own lives," reflects fifth-grader Sophie Edgar.

Edgar and her peers learned the words to patriotic songs and used American Sign Language to sing "America the Beautiful" during the Patriot Day Assembly.

As young as they are, students like Edgar still feel the emotions that many Americans felt twelve years ago.

"It made me feel really upset," says Edgar, "I feel bad for all the people that were there and saw the video on TV and everything."

"They were mad. They were mad. They were like, why do they do this?" Signoret says, recalling the moment she taught her third and fourth graders about the attacks. "My one son was [saying]... 'If I could get ahold of them I would beat them up.'"

The school did not show any video footage of the attacks, allowing parents to decide what is appropriate to show, and do so at home.

"We want their parents to be teaching them things that they feel they are ready for," says Ellis, "but our job is to teach them that we have a Remembrance Day and we have people in the community that are keeping them safe."

"You always try and assure them that they're safe," says Signoret. "That's the main thing, is that they feel safe."

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