My generation is defined by September 11th, 2001 and the ways in which the country changed after that act of terrorism.
In 2011, I was twelve years old, old enough to be aware of the way things were and see how much things have changed. I was old enough to recall every moment of that day as well as my confusion about what had happened. I instantly knew the travesty of the events, but I would not understand until later the gravity to which they would affect my life.
Every person I know can recount exactly where they were and how they found out that day, eleven years ago. Anyone who was cognizant of the world around them is aware of how our world changed. For those like me, immediately after hearing of the attacks, our sense of security and safety would be forever extinguished; for others, it took a little longer. Ever since that day, I have the constant trepidation of evil and hatred in the world. And I have a lack of understanding for those misanthropes that cause pain in the hearts of any individual regardless of sexuality, religion, age, gender, nationality, or ethnicity. To this day, this affects me in subtle ways that are not always obviously apparent.
When the towers came down, I never imagined that I would one day live in New York. Even when moving to New York, it did not cross my mind how the history of this city would affect my life here. I an uneasy every time an alarm goes off in my office building. When a terrorist attack or an event that causes individuals to evacuate a building occurs, I become concerned. The city that I live is no longer a tiny town in the Midwest but the city iconic of America and the previous target of numerous attacks. When something in New York gains national attention, my mother is the first one to call to make sure I was where I should be and not where the event has occurred. The high security that has resulted from 9/11 is not something I only encounter at the airport any more. Police in the subway checking bags, at Bryant Park before a movie, at any public place that draws a crowd. Police all around. Whenever I go downtown and get off the subway near Fulton or the WTC, I feel an internal agitation of feelings to be near Ground Zero and at the foot of the Freedom Tower (One WTC). While the new WTC buildings are erected, they are a beautiful sight in the skyline; however, to me, they will always represent the rebuilding of lives, business, country and spirit after September 11th, 2001.
I am unsure that I will ever live through the anniversary without shedding a tear. The repercussions extend far beyond the families and infrastructure destroyed. From the lung disease and cancers first responders suffer to the trillions in debt our nation is in from fighting “the war on terrorism,” the repercussions has shaped my generation and those that come after it. I do not believe that time will ever make my turbulence about being certain places in the city fade. For I will forever remember that day and honor the lives lost and the heroes made.
For some amazing 9/11 stories: