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Teen Kids News (Episode 952)

23 minutes

Teen Kids News salutes America on the anniversary of 9/11. We'll tell you how these school walls and halls are honoring those who lost their lives that terrible day. And I'll report on people who keep the memory and lessons of 9/11 alive in classrooms across the country. "Speak of the Week" finds out what makes us proud to call ourselves Americans. And find out what happened the night of the rockets' red glare. This special edition of Teen Kids News begins right now.

Welcome to Teen Kids News. I'm Mwanzaa. I'm Siena. We'll start with our top story. Most of us were little kids when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place in 2001. They're a painful but important part of our nation's history, and we'll report on that later. Now, Scott tells us how students used brushes, paint, and their school's walls to pay special tribute. Detail, left face!

(Scott) An honor guard is rare at the opening of a student art project, but this is no ordinary art project. These images capture the horror and heroism of 9/11, events that took place close to McKinley Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York. We've reported on McKinley before. Students here made national headlines with their unusual art project: giant hallway murals. We bring everything that we learned to another level. We draw it, write poems about it. We do extra things that they don't do in other schools.

(Scott) Over the past few years, the students created a history lesson on the walls, and when it was ready, special guests were invited for a dedication. Along with proud parents and educators, there were people with a close personal connection to that day for whom 9/11 will never just be a textbook lesson. On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, Arab terrorists seized four passenger jets that had taken off from Boston. The hijackers crashed two of the planes into the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon in Washington. The fourth jet plummeted into a Pennsylvania field after passengers rushed the terrorists. It's important that we continue to teach our youth these important moments in history, and if you read the textbooks, this is just a paragraph. This makes children understand the significance of 9/11-- brings it to life.

(Scott) With speeches, plaques, and presentations, the students were welcomed into a unique community of people who work to keep the memory of 9/11 alive. You gave your lives so that others might live. We wanted to honor the memory of everyone who lost their lives and also celebrate the achievement of these kids, and the firefighters, police officers, everyone who came, helped us do that more than we imagined possible.

[playing "Amazing Grace"]

(Scott) After the ceremony and the photographs, everyone filed into the school for a tour back through time.

[bagpipes continue]

(Scott) Much of the art is inspired by famous works done by classical artists.

(girl speaking)

(Scott) The number 343 on the helmet represents the number of firefighters who died on 9/11. I was lucky not to be killed that day, but I lost many friends. While the kids made the mural, Captain Berkman would visit and explain what happened that day. I didn't know about 9/11. I've learned so much. I love people seeing what we did. It makes me proud, 'cause all the work that we done, it's really special to some people. Unfortunately, my brother was one fireman who passed away, so that's my personal connection. It's fulfilling to see his memory honored in this place.

(Scott) The students took special care to honor everyone who died in the attacks. We put every name, 3,000 names, on the wall.

(Scott) And every name helps us to never forget. The poet Robert Frost once wrote, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." Had he visited McKinley, he would have changed his mind. When we return, we'll travel back 200 years. That's where the story of our national anthem begins. We'll be right back. This is a red, white, and blue edition of Teen Kids News. Our "Speak of the Week" asked, "What makes you proud to be an American?" America, you have many opportunities, and we have freedoms that other countries don't have. It's nice to be able to say what you want and do what you want and have the opportunity to succeed in whatever you choose to do. That people come from all over the world to this country for an opportunity is amazing. I'm proud because it's a free country, and everyone has rights and equality, no matter who you are. Everything that we've accomplished. We're a prominent country. I'm proud to be part of it. I'm proud because of the melting pot. There's a lot of culture, diversity, and ideas in America. I'm proud to be an American because of all the people who served for us and our country. 'Cause you can pursue your dreams and follow your heart and live out your life in a very good way. They all deserve stars for great answers. Actually, make that 50 stars. With "Speak of the Week," I'm Jacelyn. It's been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Words can unite us and help win battles, especially when put to music. Carly tells us more. We sing it at school, at important ceremonies, and even before sporting events. Our national anthem has a proud history, and it all began here in Baltimore Harbor two centuries ago.

(woman) This was the War of 1812. The Americans were losing at that time, and the British had just burned Washington. That was scaring the people in Baltimore. Fort McHenry was the only thing standing in between the British ships and Baltimore. Describe Fort McHenry to us. Absolutely. From the air, it looks like a giant star with points on it called "bastions," giving the cannons crossfire around the entire fort. It's named for James McHenry, the secretary of war when it was being built. We are standing on the parade ground, where troops would muster for various ceremonies, such as inspection and morning parade. Around us are the barracks. In 1814, they were one story. The second story was added in 1829. The fort right now looks as it did in the Civil War.

(Carly) The general in charge of the fort wanted to show the British that we weren't afraid. He sent word to the home of Mary Pickersgill, a well-known flag maker. What did the general ask you to do? He asked for a very large flag that the British could see from a distance. It was 30 feet by 42 feet. Each stripe was two feet wide. Every star was two feet from tip to tip. That sounds big. It's largest flag to ever fly from a flagpole. Did you have to work fast? I worked from sunrise till 10:00 or 11:00 at night for about six weeks. It took a while, and I worked as quickly as possible. To give you an idea of how big the flag really is, it was this big. When did the battle begin? On September 13, 1814, the British began firing on the fort. We are at the water battery, Fort McHenry's main line of defense. Cannons like these kept the British ships at bay.

(Ertel) An American lawyer was with the British ships negotiating the release of an American prisoner of war. He was there and saw the entire battle. And his name was Francis Scott Key. We'll have more on the history of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when TKN continues.

[fifes and drums play]

[cannon fires]

(Ertel) Fort McHenry was all that stood between the British ships and Baltimore city.

♪ O say can you see by the dawn's early light ♪

(Carly) Why did Key write that first line? Key wasn't sure who won the fight. It was dark the morning after the battle. Looking through a spyglass, he sees the giant American flag and realizes that the Americans won, and that inspired him to write the poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry."

♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪

♪ At the twilight's last gleaming ♪

♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪

♪ Through the perilous fight ♪

When Key wrote his poem, there were only 15 stars and 15 stripes on the American flag.

♪ O'er the ramparts we watched ♪

♪ Were so gallantly streaming? ♪

What exactly are the ramparts? The ramparts are the brick walls surrounding the fort. "Ramparts" is another name for a wall. So, when Key says, "O'er the ramparts," he's saying, "We watched over the ramparts for the flag."

♪ And the rockets' red glare ♪

♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪

During the battle, a bomb crashed through the roof of our powder magazine. If it had exploded, it would have blown the fort sky-high.

♪ Gave proof through the night ♪

♪ That our flag was still there ♪

[cannon fires]

(Ertel) The British bombarded the fort for 25 hours. They were two miles out on the water. Our guns could only shoot for a mile and a half. They were beyond our range. After 25 hours, they weren't defeating the fort and reaching Baltimore, so they decided to leave. What happened to Key's poem? Key returned to Baltimore, finished the poem and gave it to a printer, and it was printed on handbills. It was an overnight sensation. In modern terms, it went viral. It went up and down the Atlantic Coast, and two weeks later, Carr's Music Store changed the name from "Defence of Fort McHenry" to "The Star-Spangled Banner." When did it become our national anthem? It became the official national anthem in 1931. For many years, it was sung like a national anthem. They called it a national air, but it wasn't until the 1920s that a grassroots movement came afoot to make it official, and Herbert Hoover signed it into a resolution and public law in 1931.

(Carly) What are highlights of the bicentennial exhibit? We have a lot going on. There's our new state-of-the-art visitor and education center, where we have 5,000 square feet of awesome exhibits. You can vote on declaring the War of 1812. An IMAX movie puts you in the center of the action, and Fort McHenry is getting new exhibits. It's an incredible story that's being told anew for the bicentennial.

♪ O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪

♪ O'er the land of the free ♪

♪ And the home of the brave? ♪

Yes, it does. Two hundred years later, our flag still proudly waves, spangled with a lot more stars. For TKN, I'm Carly. We're continuing our special coverage of 9/11/2001. That day, terrorists hijacked four planes. Two were flown into New York City's World Trade Center buildings. In Washington, D.C., a plane was slammed into the Pentagon. The fourth plane never reached its intended target. Those on board fought the terrorists to regain control of the aircraft. That plane, with its heroic passengers and crew, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It was a tragic day for our country, the worst attack on U.S. soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Earlier, during Scott's report on the school mural honoring 9/11, the principal there made this point: It's important that we continue to teach our youth these important moments in history. In textbooks, it's just a paragraph. Tyler reports on an organization that's trying to change that. They want schools to make 9/11 more than a paragraph in a textbook. Teens should learn about it because all the devastation is a big part of history.

(Tyler) And that's one reason why teens and others from across the country come here to the 9/11 Tribute Center. Located next to where the twin towers once stood, the center gives what it calls "person-to-person history." I glimpse a plane coming down Hudson River. I watch the plane circle around the Statue of Liberty, and then I watch the plane drive into the south tower.

(Tyler) Bill Spade was one firemen who rushed to the scene. He's lucky to have survived and shares his story with visitors. I don't want people to forget. So many lives were lost that day.

(Tyler) The mission of the Tribute Center is to help people understand that 9/11 is more than a date. It's a pivotal moment in our nation's history. It's a message the Tribute Center's founder feels is important for our generation to learn. He's surprised that some students know little about the attacks. They don't understand what 9/11 is, who did it to us and why. In school, we are taught about global history back from the 1500s, but we're not taught about the World Trade Center.

(Tyler) The Tribute Center would like to see schools do more when teaching about the attacks. It's important to have a curriculum to teach the history of 9/11. Kids we spoke to agree. The United States should have that in their curriculum because everybody's affected by it. This should be taught in school, because teens should have a right to know what happened.

(Tyler) The Tribute Center is packed with exhibits. It also runs special programs for students, as well as guided walking tours of the area. For Mr. Ielpi, the center is very personal. His son Jonathan, a firefighter, died on 9/11. That's his helmet and coat, along with photos of comrades who gave their lives trying to save others. An important part of the Tribute Center is a look at what happened after 9/11. The center believes that through education comes understanding. That's why visitors are asked to share their thoughts. For more information on the 9/11 Tribute Center, follow the link on our website.

Memorials in steel and stone are among the many ways we remember those who died in the attacks on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Another lasting legacy is the creation of Tuesday's Children. It's an organization dedicated to helping all those who lost loved ones in the disaster. Among other things, it offers teens programs like mentoring, counseling, and community service. Over the years, Tuesday's Children has gone global. They've reached out to families around the world who've been victimized by terrorism.

[patriotic music plays]

The first actual award of the Medal of Honor went to the surviving members of the Andrews Raid, a sort of a spy mission that went on in Georgia, where a civilian scout and spy named Andrews led a group of soldiers and civilians to capture a Confederate locomotive and to use it on the railroad lines to destroy bridges and tear up tracks. The raid, unfortunately, was not successful, and many of them were captured. Andrews was hanged, and the surviving soldiers, once they were returned from captivity, were given the Medal of Honor. And the first one actually presented was to a soldier named Jacob Parrott, a very young man, about 18 years old. He'd been severely mistreated by the Confederates, so Secretary of War Stanton specifically said to him, "I want you to have this medal."

(girl) This report is brought to you by Paramount Home Media Distribution. Open your eyes.

[gasps]

(girl) You won't believe your eyes when you see Titanic on Blu-ray for the first time ever. I'm flying, Jack. The film earned more than $2 billion and 11 Academy Awards and made Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio global stars. Titanic tells the story of the epic romance of two star-crossed lovers. It's set against the backdrop of the legendary and tragic maiden voyage of what was known as the "Ship of Dreams." Titanic will founder. This ship can't sink. She's made of iron, sir. She can...and she will. Rose!

[people screaming]

(girl) Director James Cameron's awesome film is now being released in stunning high definition and in both 2-D and 3-D. Why'd you do that? Why? Because this beloved blockbuster deserves to be seen with the highest-quality picture and sound to appreciate every spectacular moment. It's overwhelming. You'll be overwhelmed, too. The Blu-ray/DVD combo has more than 2 1/2 hours of brand-new bonus features, including 30 deleted scenes, 60 behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more. Do not let go of my hand! You won't want to let go, and you won't have to. Titanic is available now on Blu-ray. For TKN, I'm Carina. Continuing our special edition marking the anniversary of 9/11, we update a story we first reported on a few years ago.

The arrival of the USS New York in 2009 was a special occasion. It was built with steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. This New Jersey volunteer firefighter originated the idea. The USS New York takes America's worst day and turns it into our greatest national symbol. And I felt that this was something special that the nation can rally around.

(Mwanzaa) There are 360 in the crew. In addition, the ship can carry 300 marines. What we do is we respond to different crises, whether it's humanitarian assistance, whether it's a need in a different country.

(Mwanzaa) Since we covered this story, the ship has been on very active duty. Over the summer, it was in the Persian Gulf, hosting training flights for helicopter pilots. The crew knows their ship has a special meaning for all of us. Read their blog. It's linked on our website. Thanks for joining us. See you next time with more Teen Kids News.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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For this Special Edition, the top story focuses on the Anniversary of 9/11. At McKinley Junior High School, students have painted a mural on the walls of their school which commemorates and honors those who lost their lives on the tragic day in 2001. Then Carly visits Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland where she learns about the historic battle that helped spark the creation of our National Anthem. Finally, Tyler reports on the 9/11 Tribute Center. The goal of the Center is to not only remember what happened, but to teach future generations about it. The Center believes that through education, comes understanding. Part of the "Teen Kids News" series.

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