Kailen Nelson, a freshman from Fremont, reads the rough draft of a letter she will send to a family affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.

KINGSTON — The freshmen in Derek Cangello’s Citizenship in a Global Society class were only in third grade when terrorists hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Consequently, they remember little about the events of that day.

So while many schools marked the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, with a moment of silence, students in Cangello’s class at Sanborn Regional High School spent this week working on a remembrance project. Cangello started the project last year to teach his students how much the terrorist attacks changed this country.

“It occurred to me that every year it would get more difficult to convey the magnitude (of Sept. 11),” he said.

To teach the students about the events surrounding the attacks, the class watched a National Geographic documentary. Then, to give the students a personal connection to the tragedy and to impart a lesson on global citizenship, Cangello’s students began writing letters to families of people killed on Sept. 11.

“Why not let the families of those who lost their lives know that we, as a class, as citizens in a global society, will never forget that day, those who perished and ... those who live with the absence of a loved one,” Cangello said.

The letters will be sent through the 9/11 Families for a Secure America Foundation, a group of citizens dedicated to informing the public and elected officials about the country’s security shortcomings.

“I’m very sorry about your loss, and I hope this letter gives you some hope and faith,” wrote 14-year-old Chelsea Ouellette.

Many students said learning about the attacks was eye-opening.

“We were too young to really understand,” said Taylor Leblanc, 14. “I know we had to go home early, but no one would tell us what was going on.”

Watching the documentary was “really crazy,” Leblanc said. “I can’t imagine that even happening. It felt like a movie.”

Joan Molinaro, whose son was a firefighter in New York City who died on Sept. 11, has been the contact person for Cangello at the 9/11 Families for a Secure America Foundation.

Later this year, she and other family members who received letters from the class will come to Sanborn to thank the students and talk about their experiences. Students who wrote letters last year also will meet with the visitors.

Tyler Johnson, 14, said he was excited, but also a little nervous, when he heard he would be writing to the family of a Sept. 11 victim.

“To see what they had to go through, I felt so bad for them,” he said. “(The letters) will probably make a lot of other people feel better because they’ll know people care about them.”

Conor Page’s letter will go to the New York City Fire Department.

“Every since I was little, I always wanted to be a firefighter,” Page, 14, said. “Firefighters are my heroes, they’ve always been. I want to remind them that they have people that believe in them, that they’re my heroes, I guess.”

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