United We Stand Strong -- Remembering 9/11


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Can you believe next month it will be 20 years since 9/11? It was a time when we were all so scared. And it wasn't just the United States but this act of terrorism affected most of the world. The planes destroyed a building that had in it people from all over the world working. People of different races, religions, and ages. Airplanes were not flying after that for quite awhile. And just about everyone who was alive then knows where they were when they heard. Yet something else happened after the attack. We as a country and society came together. We united and supported one another. We showed how strong we are together. Today I'm going to share a book for young kids sharing one of the ways we came together. It shares a story I personally did not know but am glad to have learned about it. The book is 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. It is recommended for ages 5-8.

From the Publisher:

Discover the inspiring story of the American flag that flew over Ground Zero, traveled across all fifty states as it was repaired, and returned to New York as a restored symbol of unity.

In the days following September 11th, a 30-foot American flag hung torn and tattered at 90 West Street, across from Ground Zero. A few weeks later, the flag was taken down by a construction crew and tucked away in storage, where it stayed for nearly seven years.

The flag was brought out of storage in 2008 when the New York Says Thank You Foundation headed to Greensburg, Kansas, a town nearly destroyed by a tornado. NYSTY brought the flag with them, sparking a grassroots restoration effort that traveled over 120,000 miles across all fifty states, bringing together thousands of people, and helping America heal and rebuild . . . hand by hand, thread by thread, one stitch at a time.

This book is the story of that journey, a journey that ended at the opening of the National September 11 Museum, where the flag remains today. Along the way, the flag was restored using pieces of retired flags from every state—including a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on after he was shot at Ford's Theater and threads from the original Star-Spangled Banner flag, which flew at Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem. The pieces and threads were stitched in by military veterans, first responders, educators, students, community-service heroes, and family members of 9/11 victims, among others. At each stop, communities came together to remember, to heal, and to unite.

From Me:

First, I am excited to learn about the National 9/11 Flag and its journey. I love the message of the story. It is about people volunteering and coming together. It reminds us that together we are the United States of America. When Hazel was young I tried to keep the story of 9/11 as well as the Boston Bombing away from her. She heard about them at school in second grade I believe. I wasn't sure she was ready to hear about such terrifying events but it was too late since the damage was done. Now she is interested in learning more. I feel this book does a great job of showing some of the positive things that came out of our national tragedy. The words are positive and the photos are great. I can see kids being interested in the story as well as how the flag traveled the country to have stitches sewn by so many different people. 

To go with this book there are different activities you can try. There is one available to download when you provide some information on the Worthy Kids site. An obvious extension to me would be to teach the kids to make simple stitches. You could easily have kids sew simple felt projects like this one or this one. As a math teacher I see the math of 30,000 stitches and the size of the flag. Helping the kids understand what 30,000 means would be a great lesson. Perhaps having a canned food drive to collect 30,000 cans or 30,000 pennies to help a national charity. I think it would also be interesting to look at the history of our nation's flag as well as flag crafts. And of course the obvious one which I hope to do some day soon is to visit the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York and see the flag in person! I hope you will check out this amazing book and learn more about the history of this flag!