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America attacked by terrorists

To mark the terrible events in Washington and New York. To provide a way to respond

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To mark the terrible events in Washington and New York. To provide a way to respond.

Preparation and materials

NOTE: As with most rapid response assemblies this was written as the story was unfolding. Please check details for accuracy and amend accordingly.


  1. Recap the events of Tuesday 11th September: Two hijacked planes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. Within about an hour, both towers had collapsed. Many people lost their lives and many were injured. A third plane flew into the Pentagon building in Washington - an important centre for the American military. Again there were many deaths and injuries.

  2. Say that many children will have seen pictures on the Television news and in newspapers. The explosions were so big that they looked like feature films - not like real life. But they were real. Many, many people were killed and many more have lost people they loved. It may have looked and sounded dramatic, but it was real.

  3. Ask - why did it happen? Explain that although we don't know exactly who did this, it was caused by terrorists - people who can't get what they want by normal means so they seek to hurt and kill people. We don't know what they want or what point they are trying to make, but we do know that the people they have killed were just ordinary people.

  4. Ask for a minute's silence to think about all those who have died and those who loved them; and those who are injured.

  5. Introduce and read this paraphrase of part of Psalm 102.

Time for reflection

Introduction: When terrible things happen it can help to remember that people throughout the ages have suffered terribly but have still managed to recover. This old poem (Psalm) from the Bible was written about three thousand years ago. Sometimes it just helps to know that other people have been through the same sort of experience and felt the same kind of things. Ask the children to think of the people of America while they listen.

Hear my prayer O Lord
O lord hear my cry.
Do not hide from me O Lord
Hear me and answer me, I pray.

My days are grey and sad like smoke
My bones hurt
My heart is sad
I don't want to eat
I can't do anything

I feel so sad, so lonely
I am like a little bird that pecks around a wasteland
Nothing to eat, nothing to drink
A shadow is over all my life

But, whatever, you're still God
You go on and on and you don't change
Things will change for me
They will get better
Like the sun you will rise and help me
I know you will.

Publication date: January 2001   (Vol.3 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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