It's a bit surreal to think that the current crop of high school seniors were, for the most part, not even born when one of the most significant events in our country, certainly in my lifetime, took place. A rising generation that may know the facts of 9/11 (at least to the extent their schools teach actual facts, rather than whitewashed, politically correct "history"), but not the gut-wrenching emotion of it.
Shock. Horror. Disbelief. Confusion as conflicting information came in on that day. Finally, outrage.
Tell them your stories, where you were, your reactions. How your life was changed, how your understanding of the world shifted, how your belief in the safety of our country was shattered.
Remind them of the human toll. Read stories of the victims. Read about the first responders. Realize that there is still a human cost being exacted today, as many who worked in and around the site are now manifesting various cancers as a result of breathing in dust contaminated with unhealthy construction materials.
Explain why we go through security lines at airports, have the size of our bags limited when entering festivals, have them searched before entering a stadium. Active shooter drills are now part of their regular school experience - do not let them laugh them off.
Do not let 9/11 become for them what Veterans' Day became for much of my generation when we were their age: a somber paper "holiday" commemorating events long ago with no current relevance.