This lesson has students read two speeches from standing presidents directly after attacks on American soil. There have been no other moments in modern American history that have changed the American conscience like the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center. For each, the American people were shaken, angry and suddenly questioning their safety in a way they had never had to do before. Each president’s response reveals a lot about the shifting mood and reactions of the country after an attack. In analyzing the speeches, looking for patterns, and making inferences about what they read, students will find some similarities in the speeches and have a basis for further analysis. This lesson is an interesting way to connect the study of 9/11 to the past, and can be the starting point for further research and writing (see “Suggested Essay Questions” below).
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