MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) — The three men you’re about to meet were strangers on September 11th, 2001, but today spend countless hours teaching the same subject, inside the same school just steps away from each other.
They share one common goal that what they’re saying to their students about 9/11 will stay with these teens forever.
Students at Moundsville Middle are learning so much about 9/11 through the school year.
But one of the most interesting facts, that catches their attention, according to Easton, is that 9/11 was the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
We can’t change history. History is already written. It has already happened, but we need to make sure we get to a place where it does not repeat itself.L.J. Winland/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
When the first plane hit the South tower of the World Trade Center, L.J. Winland was walking in the halls of Moundsville Middle School as an 8th grader. As a 13-year-old he didn’t understand the magnitude of what had just happened. Then 29 minutes later the second plane struck. Still inside the walls of the Moundsville Middle, Winland was even more confused.
When the second plane hit and the second tower fell I was in this building, in the art room. I had art class. I still don’t think at this time we understood the magnitude of what was going on.L.J. Winland/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
Parents started picking up their kids at the school.
Winland knew he wanted to be with his family, too.
My parents came and got me. We went and got my little brother. We just all wanted to be together.L.J. Winland/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
Now as a history teacher at the same middle school where he first heard the news that dreadful day, he tries to teach his 7th graders look ahead because you can’t change the past.
It’s important to teach the other cultural views as much as you can. I think it’s important to understand geography. I think it’s important to understand where they are on the map.L.J. Winland/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
History teacher Bill Gallagher was just in his first year of teaching, when 9/11 happened.
We tried to watch it. I tried to explain to the kids what was happening. Obviously, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. I was kind of learning as they were. It as kind of just a surreal day.Bill Gallagher/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
The 7th and 8th graders he teaches now weren’t even born yet, but Gallagher still has many 9/11 messages for his students. He teaches his students using the book called, West Virginia Its Land, Its People.
“I told the kids this is something they are never going to forget. It’s like Kennedy getting assassinated or one of those big events. It’s something you’re never going to forget in your lifetime.”Bill Gallagher/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
Moundsville History teacher Daniel Easton had just enlisted in August 2001, just month before 9/11.
His plan: get 15 college credit hours at West Liberty and then enter as a private first class in the Marine Corps.
He was getting ready to head out the door for his first day of class when the planes struck. He remembers his parents being fearful of his potential deployment.
That day defined his future.
He served for four years.
Easton incorporates 9/11 into his curriculum.
My unit lost 48 Marines and Navy Corpsmen, so we were among the heaviest fighting in the campaign in Iraq, I believe.”Daniel Easton/History Teacher, Moundsville Middle
They were in different places and were different ages at the time the two planes struck those two towers, but these three men who followed different paths were brought to the same place to teach students about America’s darkest day.