A tragedy doesn’t have to bring our country together

Shane Nigbor

Shane Nigbor has been a High School social studies teacher in the Baldwin-Woodville School District for the last 10 years. 

Those who have sat in his freshmen class over the years are taught about Sept. 11, 2001. 

“I would say that it has definitely changed in various ways,” Nigbor said, last week, reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy. “First, the further we move away from that date, the more historical, it becomes, and students are further removed from it.

“However, with time, there are more firsthand accounts and more resources to bring that tragic day alive.” 

Nigbor said over the 10 years, video footage has hit home the hardest with students. 

“Combined with interviewing their parents and other family members, students are able to empathize with the video footage and synthesize various sources, including parental accounts, to form a clearer picture.” 

What does he want them to learn? The message is simple. 

“It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring our country together,” he said. “We are a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs and we should be together no matter what and work for the common good of our country at all times.”

He believes a majority of them have gotten it, but there’s more that could be done. 

“However, with being so young, many don’t quite understand that their voice matters and that they can contribute greatly on a civic platform and exercise civic virtue in numerous ways,” he added. 

The day means more to Nigbor than most because after serving four years in the military on active duty, he was honorably discharged before Sept. 11, 2001. 

“9/11 is a learning tool that has taught me to not be complacent,” he said. “I was never activated to duty which greatly disappointed me. I didn’t understand how I could contribute and help which left me feeling like my hands were tied. 

“I have had friends deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most came back and some did not. So, to the best of my ability, I try to tell their story and honor that day which sparked the ‘war on terrorism.’ That is how I have made peace with 9/11/2001 and how I can have a part in remembering that day.” 

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