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Tipsheet

DeSantis' Latest Move on Education Is a Good One

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced on Tuesday that he was officially establishing "9/11 Heroes Day" to be observed on each anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks that stole 2,977 innocent lives in Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. 

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The new official observance will be held "n honor of those who carried out heroic acts amid the attacks and who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, DeSantis explained. 

"You think about it, many of us remember [9/11] and that was kind of a big deal for our country in terms of the last generation," DeSantis continued. "But you look at these kids in high school here, they were not even born when September 11 happened."

"We think it's important that those folks are honored," DeSantis said of those who were killed in the attacks or took action to prevent a greater loss of life. 

The new day of remembrance for the Sunshine State and its students was included in HB 1537:

The Governor shall proclaim September 11 of each year as "9/11 Heroes' Day," which shall be suitably observed in the public schools of the state as a day honoring those who perished in the September 11, 2001, attacks, including 2,763 people at the World Trade Center, 189 people at the Pentagon, and 44 people on United Airlines Flight 93, and the 25,000 people maimed or fatally injured on or after that date, and which shall be suitably observed by public exercise in the State Capitol and elsewhere as the Governor may designate.

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Specifically, students in state-required civics and government courses will now be guaranteed to learn about 9/11, the heroism that was on display that day, the gravity of the losses America suffered, how the country united in the days after the attacks, and how the U.S. responded to 9/11: 

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, middle school and high school students must receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on "9/11 Heroes' Day" topics involving the history and significance of September 11, 2001, including remembering the sacrifice of military personnel, government employees, civilians, and emergency responders who were killed, wounded, or suffered sickness due to the terrorist attacks on or after that date, including, but not limited to:

(a) The historical context of global terrorism.

(b) A timeline of events on September 11, 2001, including the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93.

(c) The selfless heroism of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, other first responders, and civilians involved in the rescue and recovery of victims and the heroic actions taken by the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93.

(d) The unprecedented outpouring of humanitarian, charitable, and volunteer aid occurring after the events of September 11, 2001. 

(e) The global response to terrorism and importance of respecting civil liberties while ensuring safety and security.

DeSantis is right to push for more and better education for the rising generation when it comes to 9/11 and what it meant for the previous generation. At too many schools, September 11 goes by each year without formal recognition of the day's history and its meaning to millions of Americans. And too many students go through their educations without learning enough about 9/11 to fully grasp what that day was like for Americans old enough to remember. 

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Young America's Foundation (this writer's previous employer) noticed this issue just two years after the attacks and launched its nationwide 9/11: Never Forget Project that helps students create memorials at their high school flag poles and campus quads filled with 2,977 American flags — one for each person killed on 9/11 — to remind their communities and show they haven't forgotten.

Activism projects such as YAF's and policies creating official remembrances such as the one just signed by Gov. DeSantis are critical to ensuring the rising generation doesn't forget the attacks of September 11, 2001, efforts that get more vital with each additional year that passes.

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