• Allison Lee Pillinger Choi

9/11: Practicing Recognition and Gratitude

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

We may not be able to fully explain -- or at all explain -- the gravity of this day to our young kids. But we can practice the acts of recognition and gratitude which are very much part of this memorial.


On September 11th we remember unbelievable tragedy, the death of innocent victims, and grieving families. The suffering on that day and the period to follow were like nothing the world had ever witnessed. At the same time, demonstrations of selflessness and sacrifice were an incredible display of humanity. On this day, we remember and honor the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Many of the fallen heroes we recognize are those who had committed to a profession of serving and protecting. Police officers and firefighters in New York, nearby states, and beyond arrived on the scene to help. They were present to serve anyone and everyone who were impacted by the horrific attacks that targeted New York City, but hit all Americans and freedom-loving people everywhere. On September 11th 2001, Americans were reminded that our police officers and firefighters not only serve and protect – they also are prepared to sacrifice at any moment emergency calls.


While our kids are too young for these types of historic accounts, they’re never too young to practice honoring others through recognition and gratitude. The 9/11 Memorial holiday is a somber but noteworthy time to practice these qualities of character. There are many ways to do this. For example, we visit our local police department and fire department with a batch of cookies and a drawing created by our own little artists.


Our kids get very excited for these visits when they get to say “hi” to our community’s men and women in blue uniforms and red suits. We get to know them as officers and chiefs, but also as people, too, with families and hobbies similar to us. We also learned that often our police officers volunteer their off-duty time with the fire department. In our town, Police Officer Andi is also Fire Chief Andi, because serving his community is incredibly meaningful to him . . . and we are incredibly thankful for that!


Not only do we learn during the visit itself, but we also learn about ourselves during the activities in preparation for the visit. These activities include baking sweet treats (home-made and pre-made dough are Primerrily-approved!) and drawing sweet pictures. As part of our practice in giving recognition and showing gratitude, we learn that it makes ourselves feel good to recognize others and be grateful for them.



As grateful as we are for those who demonstrate a true commitment to serving and protecting, our department officers and administrators are even more grateful for the unexpected show of appreciation . . . so much so that we’ve made these visits more frequent than an annual tradition! On any given day, but especially on September 11th, we practice recognition of and gratitude for our local police and fire departments.

Will you be trying this activity out with your family? Send your photos to us or tag us on social media. We want to cheer you on, Patriotic Parent!


P.S. – Similar to this “Teacher’s Note,” Primerrily looks for any opportunity to deepen relationships with our community’s operationally-essential members. In addition to your police and fire departments, we encourage practicing recognition and gratitude for those who serve our community as mail carriers, municipal repair workers, and anyone you and your kids recognize as “behind-the-scenes” community superstars… those who keep us safe, educated, and connected.


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