Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Mandating Teaching About 9/11

AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, Pool

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill designating September 11th as “9/11 Heroes’ Day,” during which educators will set aside a portion of the school day for all to learn about the events leading up to of and after September 11th.

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DeSantis noted on Twitter:

Florida is establishing September 11th as “9/11 Heroes’ Day” to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Our middle and high school students, who were not alive during this time, will be required to have 45 minutes of instruction to learn about the attack on our country and those who gave their lives to save others.

The bill in question is SB Bill 348, introduced by Florida State Senator Ed Hooper. It reads in part:

The Governor shall proclaim September 11th of each year as “9/11 Heroes Day,” which shall be suitably observed in the public schools of this state as a day honoring those who perished in the September 11th, 2001, attacks, including 2,763 people at the World Trade Center, 189 people at the Pentagon, and 44 people on United Airlines Flight 93, and the 25,000 people maimed or fatally injured on or after that date, and which shall be suitably observed by public exercise in the State Capitol and elsewhere as the Governor may designate.

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, middle school and high school students enrolled in the civics education class required by s. 1003.4156 or the United States Government class required by s. 1003.4282(3)(d), respectively, must receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on 9/11 Heroes Day topics involving the history and significance of September 11th, 2001, including remembering the sacrifices of military personnel, government employees, civilians, and emergency responders who were killed, wounded, or suffered sickness due to the terrorist attacks on or after that date, including, but not limited to:

(a) The historical context of global terrorism.

(b) A timeline of events on September 11th, 2001, including the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93.

(c) The selfless heroism of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, other first responders, and civilians involved in the rescue and recovery of victims and the heroic actions taken by the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93.

(d) The unprecedented outpouring of humanitarian, charitable, and volunteer aid occurring after the events of September 11th, 2001.

(e) The global response to terrorism and the importance of respecting civil liberties while ensuring safety and security.

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Beats “some people did something” by a mile, what say?

While the bill amply demonstrates DeSantis’ strengths of tapping into patriotism and refusing to whitewash history for any given narrative’s sake, his comments, as posted on his Twitter account, showcase a concerning delivery weakness. This is a word-for-word transcription:

The bill also includes something that we were, uh, asked to support over the last year, year and a half, uh, by folks who were serving in uniform in New York City during September 11th, uh, and that is uh, establishing a 9/11 heroes day in honor of those who gave their lives, uh, for … for fighting for freedom, uh on September 11th. Uh, and, so, now kids in school, um, are going to be learning about, uh, people, uh, who sacrificed at the Twin Towers and at the Pentagon on September 11th. And you- you think about it, many of us remember that, and and that was kind of a big deal for our country in terms of the last generation, but you look at these kids in high school here, they were not even born when September 11th happened and so we think it’s important, uh, that those folks are honored.

It may seem like a small, nitpicky thing, but on a national stage, you must be better at speaking more or less off the cuff. Well, if you’re a Republican, that is. The Democrats, from Biden on down, can count on full-bore media mollycoddling. Plus, “kind of a big deal?” About 9/11? Dude.

Still, you can work on your spoken delivery. Regarding legislative delivery, DeSantis and the Republican supermajority in the state legislature have powerfully come through. Now, if only the Republicans in Congress would do the same. No, I’m not holding my breath.

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