current events

My Generation X Reflection on 9/11

I woke up to a chill in the air this morning. It’s hard to believe that 11 years have passed since that fateful day where some of us, myself included, became a little less naïve in terms of world politics. I don’t believe there is anyone who lived through that day who does not remember it clearly. The images and emotions are still raw.

For those of us in my Generation X group, it was a jarring wake up call. We were collectively exiting our roaring twenties and entering our thirties feeling the call of adulthood a little more pressingly.  For over a decade, we had been labeled as lazy and uncaring. As a whole, we were in college during the first Gulf War and took media criticism that college campuses generally did not rally for or against the war. In general, the air was pretty filled with silence papered in yellow ribbons.

Yet, there we were on that September 11, 2001 being awakened by the images of plumes of smoke and falling bodies.  It was a call to action: whether to rallies, to join the military, or to become responsible adults. I had actually worked the case, in a minimal way, surrounding the first World Trade Center  (1994) attacks. I was far removed from it not fully understanding the horror those individuals caught up in that earlier attack may have felt.

I was part of the group of New Yorkers, who after 9/11 occurred, went on to move downtown near Ground Zero. For four years, I walked past Ground Zero and everyday I remembered.  I remembered the work dogs who were distraught at not being able to find a body and how that was my break point (that which first led me to tears). I remembered the first people who brought in flyers of their missing loved ones. I remembered people just being scared.  That look of fear just doesn’t disappear from your system

I have since visited other countries that have their own personal memorials and have a larger sense of camaraderie with the world.  I attended the impromptu rallies that occured right after it was announced that Osama bin Laden was killed. There was such euphoria in the air near Ground Zero.  I just hope that we keep moving forward and don’t ignore the current atrocities(acts of genocide) occurring in the world and that we continue to rise up in action to help those caught in the most dire of life circumstances.  Let’s truly not forget!

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