The Tragedies That Mark a Generation

September 14, 2010 at 7:29 am | Posted in Life and Living | 4 Comments
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from the September 11 Photo Project

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since the Twin Towers, and thousands of lives, were taken in a horrific act of terrorism.  It was one of those moments when everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news, when life suddenly moved in slow motion, when confusion and heartache took over, and life as we knew it, would never be the same.

I don’t know if the feeling is the same in other areas in the country, but in New York, there is still this underlining feeling that’s hard to describe.  It’s a sense of worry, of sorrow, of silence.  It doesn’t seem like it will ever truly go away. But New Yorkers are resilient and strong.

I had been away at college for exactly a week when it happened. It was my first time living outside of New York. I remember the frantic feeling of not being able to get a hold of my family, my father working only 4 blocks from the attack at the time.  I remember the surreal feeling, was this really happening? I remember the pain, but I also remember the pride.  My brother was on the other end of the college spectrum, and was about to enter a job market now marred by this tragedy.  I became highly aware of the world around me very quickly. I think sometimes it can take a whole college career to develop that worldly understanding.  For my generation, we learned fast.

As is only to be expected of Americans, we stood strong.  And as is true with all tragedies, we were brought together.  We hung signs that read, “United We Stand” on our cars and our homes.  But oddly enough we were more politically polarized than ever before.

Tragedies change the course of history.  It’s hard to believe they ever happened. How could JFK have been murdered?  How could so many people have been brainwashed into nearly destroying the Jewish population?  How could we have ever had slaves?  How can we still?  There are some realities that are hard to swallow.  It’s only in retrospect that you can truly see the impact such events had on shaping the world.

The future is uncertain. All we have is the past and the lessons we can learn from it.  My generation has a huge burden on their shoulders in trying to make sense of this tragedy and remembering how it happened so that years from now, when we are the ones making the decisions, we can make the best ones possible.

It’s in remembering that we keep those who perished alive.  It’s in remembering that we can try to create a better world.

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