In this newsletter, we include an excerpt from 9:57 Project co-founder Peter Findler’s “Acknowledgments and Introduction” section of our new curriculum guide, Lines of Fire: A Curriculum Guide Featuring 21st Century Wartime Correspondences.  In it, he writes of how he owes his students a debt of gratitude for their input on designing the curriculum and discusses the importance of teaching the history of 9/11 and its effects through the eyes of servicemembers and their families.  

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, our hope is that this guide will provide educators with the tools to engage their students in meaningful learning opportunities about this important moment in American history.  Please share this free resource with people you know who may be interested in it.  The entire free curriculum guide is available for download at

Lines of Fire is truly a collaborative effort, and as such, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the incredible people that I leaned upon throughout the process.  My professor and advisor at the University of Virginia Dr. Matthew Wheelock, my fellow educator Joyce Hamd at Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and my dear friend and fellow co-founder at the 9:57 Project John Hamilton all played key roles in the process.  Andrew Carroll’s generosity in granting access to the incredible collection of wartime correspondences at the Center for American War Letters makes this curriculum one of a kind.  Moreover, his investment in this project from the outset has been transformative in terms of both form and content.
Perhaps most importantly, however, I owe a debt of gratitude to my students. When I approached them in need of assistance for this project, with no promise of a reward, I tempered my expectations.  Would they respond to my invitation to spend their lunch period with their history teacher talking about teaching?  What teenager would actually want to do that?  Should I have offered them extra credit in class?  Needless to say, I was overjoyed to see my classroom fill up with a cheery group of ten tenth and eleventh-graders who were willing to give of their free time to think through which teaching strategies, graphic organizers, and activities could help illuminate the incredible wartime correspondences at my disposal (and given that I only asked the twenty four students enrolled in my A.P. U.S. History course at the time, ten was a windfall!).  Their willingness to share stories about what has worked and what hasn’t in their experience as learners in the classroom allowed me to produce materials that, hopefully, will resonate with young people like them.  I can’t wait to share the outcome of our work together.
What ultimately came of this collaboration is a collection of six lessons that are crafted for educators of grades 9-12.  Each lesson is designed around 21st century wartime correspondences that provide an authentic, first-person history of September 11, 2001, and its effects. By centering the words of American servicemembers and their families in each lesson, this curriculum departs from typical forms of teaching about 9/11 that emphasize the details of foreign and domestic policy or the perspectives of Presidents and other national leaders.  While these topics certainly deserve a place in the high school history classroom, the lessons contained here emphasize the perspectives of those who experienced the repercussions of national decision making in the wake of 9/11 firsthand: the troops fighting abroad in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families and loved ones at home.  In so doing, the story of this moment in American history takes on a personal and intimate hue that many students have not seen before....

Continue reading Peter's introduction in the full curriculum guide here.