I find 9/11 to be an uncomfortable thing for me to talk about. I was 13 when it happened. In the 7th grade, I think. I was at school and it was around 11:30am when all the T.Vs in the classrooms were turned on. The students and teachers pretended to work while the footage of the planes going into the Twin Towers played in the background. Nearly half of my classes were like this. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of it. I want to say we got let go early, because eventually it was the only thing people were focused on.
I ended up walking home and was surprised to find my family had made it to the house before I did. I was scared because my dad said that since it was terrorists the war might last a long time and I might end up getting drafted when I turned 18. Five years seemed like a long time for a war to last and it freaked me out. I remembered my grandfather talking about shortages for everything during WW2 and I assumed it’d be like that. It was a bit overblown now that I think about it, but my mind couldn’t help but go there.
Looking back, it’s almost insane how one day separated the America I came of age in and the America that came the day after. For me the optimism of the 90s still resonated into the new Millennium prior to 9/11. NSYNC’s music video “Pop” that came out a few months before the attacks kind of encapsulates that last bit of American optimism. I’m not sure we’re ever going to get that feeling back or even want it anymore.
It’s as if we’ve been struggling between trying to regain that bit of innocence back and courting our own self destruction ever since that day happened. A part of the country seems to be impatiently waiting for the apocalypse (and in that impatience trying to take matters into their own hands to make that happen) and the other just wants to make like the past 17 years never happened. Overall (despite current circumstances) we’ve matured as a country. We know what our problems are. Solving them is harder and something major will have to be sacrificed to make that happen. I just hope it makes things better for us. I just hope it makes us a better class of people. Unlike other countries in the past, we have the luxury of knowledge in history and technology to make this happen for us. If we don’t, then we’ll have screwed ourselves over more thoroughly than the Romans. Well…I guess that’s all I wanted to say.