Father Of Fallen 9/11 First Responder Says Attacks Should Be Part Of School Curriculum

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By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As we approach the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, WCBS 880's Sean Adams spoke with the father of one of the victims, who has made it his personal mission to tell the story of what happened on that fateful day.

For years, retired New York City firefighter Lee Ielpi was a fixture at the 9/11 Tribute Museum. He would share his personal story and educate people about the attacks.

"I miss the chance to talk to people and be able to talk about my son and the beautiful people that gave their (lives) that day," Ielpi said. "Hundreds and hundreds of people used to come down to the Tribute Museum and it was a way for me to teach, in my limited experience of teaching, but it was a chance for me to tell the people everything about 9/11."

It was a solemn duty, in memory of his firefighter son, Jonathan, who was just 29 years old and married with two young sons when he was killed in the attacks, and all of the innocent souls who were stolen that day by hatred.

Nineteen years later, something troubles Ielpi.

"New York City, to the best of my knowledge, to this day, does not have a curriculum to teach the history of 9/11, nor does New York State," Ielpi said. "We do not have a state in our country that has a curriculum to teach the history of 9/11."

In his retirement, Ielpi still speaks to schoolchildren who often ask him "What happened on 9/11?" and "What is 9/11?"

"How can you go to a school and ask students, 'What do you know about 9/11?' And the comeback is many times, 'What is 9/11?' That's troubling," Ielpi said.

Some schools address Sept. 11th, while others don't and Ielpi believes it's time for history books to reflect what happened.

"This was an attack on our country, an attack on our lifestyles, our freedoms, our beliefs, our right to worship any way we want or not worship at all. When we start forgetting history then I'm not sure what's going to happen to our country," Ielpi said. "It's critical that they remember 9/11, it's critical that they understand what happened to our beautiful  people that came to work that day, just coming to work to earn a living."

"We have to start pressing the system," Ielpi added.

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