GONZALES — Explaining a horrific situation to children can be a hard task for any classroom teacher, especially when the students weren’t born when the tragedy happened.
That was the job Central Primary School third-grade teacher Trey Veazey tackled Sept. 11, when his class took part in a Patriot Day lesson on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks in New York, Arlington, Va., and Pennsylvania.
Veazey sat in a corner of his classroom, settled into a comfy, green chair and held a photo of New York’s Twin Towers as he tried to explain what happened there on Sept. 11, 2001.
Using a calm, soothing voice, Veazey talked about the terrorist attacks to students who weren’t born when the attacks took place.
“It was a sad day,” he said.
Across the Central Primary campus, other teachers were going over the same topic, marking the 12th anniversary of the attacks.
The third-graders sat quietly as Veazey talked about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Without going over many of the grim details, Veazey discussed the sacrifices made that day by first responders.
“So many firefighters took care of those people that day … and some gave of their lives,” he said. “But today, instead of being sad we are going to be grateful for all of the things firefighters do.”
He said Americans remember the day as Patriot Day, holding observances across the country.
After the brief talk, he asked the children to write in their journals about their feelings and emotions: “Are you feeling sad, angry, confused about what you’ve learned?”
In another corner of the room, a white, unpainted banner sat on the floor. Veazey had used a pencil to outline a thank you message to firefighters.
The students used red and blue paint to complete the banner, which was delivered to the Seventh District fire station in Gonzales.
Veazey’s students joined other students across Ascension and other parishes taking part in the Capital Area Untied Way and BASF’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, School Board spokesman Johnnie Balfantz said.
Banners created at schools were delivered to fire stations in the parish, he said.
Before the talk, Veazey said, the students watched a video about 9/11.
He ended the lesson by reading “America Is Under Attack,” a book about the day.
Tom Yura, BASF senior vice president and Geismar site manager, said the day was designed to honor first responders and the military.
He said the programs held on Sept. 11 in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes were designed to provide an opportunity for the community to recall and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that existed immediately following the 9/11 attacks.
In addition to the banners delivered to first responders, school children and civic groups prepared and shipped more than 300 care packages to sailors, soldiers, Marines and airmen from Louisiana serving overseas.