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Explaining 9/11 to a Young Girl: One Roth Staffing Coworker’s Moving Story

More than a decade later, most Americans still feel the effects of 9/11 in their daily lives.  The coworkers at Roth Staffing Companies are no exception.  Many have had children since that day, or watched their children grow from babies to toddlers to adolescents throughout the past 14 years, and have experienced the difficulty of explaining how and why life in America changed on September 11th, 2001.   

How do you explain an event that changed the course of our nation, the world, and history to a young child with no perception of the world beyond their own backyard?  Staci Johnson, Roth Staffing Companies’ Vice President of Marketing, struggled with this question while visiting a 9/11 memorial with her young daughter. 

As her daughter asked questions, Staci searched for the right words to memorialize 9/11 in a way her daughter would understand while also teaching her daughter about the importance to choose good over evil, love over hate—something that she, and all the coworkers at Roth Staffing, believe in and enliven every day at work: making life better for people, and always trying to do good things and the right thing for others.

She’s shared the story behind the photo above…


My daughter and I were at the State Fair. We passed a 9/11 exhibit with a two-story beam retrieved from one of the fallen towers. My young daughter saw the display and started reading some of the headlines. She turned to me and asked, “Mommy, why did these buildings get burned?”

I said, “They were some of the very biggest buildings in our country. Some people who didn’t like us made the buildings fall down.”


“They took planes and flew them into the buildings. It made a very big fire and melted the inside. After a little while, it made the buildings fall down.”

“Were all the people in the building?”

“Lots of people got out of the buildings, but lots and lots of people were still inside and couldn’t get out. And almost all of the heroes who were trying to save those people were also in the buildings when they fell.

She looked at more photos, deep in thought. Then another quiet question…

“Why would they fly planes in the buildings? Those people who didn’t like us would have to die when they crashed their planes.”

“Yes, they died to crash the planes. That’s why ‘hate’ is such a bad thing. It can make you hurt lots of people and hurt yourself.”

“And if they lived far away, how did they know they didn’t like those people in the buildings? They didn’t meet them. I bet there was lots of nice people in those buildings.”

“There were lots of nice people who died and didn’t deserve to… mommies, daddies, brothers, grandmas… That’s why, even though this is really sad to look at, it’s important that we remember what happened. It helped teach us something. There are so many good things that can happen when you help people because you decide to love them, and so many bad things that can happen when you hurt people because you decide to hate them.”

She continued to study each picture carefully. Then she reached up to touch one of the pictures. That’s when I called her name to take a picture. She turned and I captured this moment.

Our nation will never forget.