A new, younger generation on 9/11

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 11:05 AM
A new, younger generation on 9/11 by Madison Streich
Photo: Wes Parnell/New York Daily News/TNS

When I first started learning about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I was in the fourth grade. We were just beginning to read about it in packets handed out to us, as our textbooks were too old to have any new information in them. My teachers showed us some video clips from the infamous day, but nothing too extreme because of our ages at the time, and we also listened to recordings. I found it interesting. I had been alive when something so monumental had occurred.

I remember going home the same day and asking my grandma questions about where she was and what she did. I asked, “What did you think when it happened?” I was a kid; I did not know what my grandma knew. I asked if I could show her the video clips I saw in school, and we sat down and watched what ended up being more intense and graphic clips. We were a few in, and I just remember breaking down and crying. I cried. I felt awful for all the people that died and their families. I just couldn’t understand why something so bad had happened.

Grade school teachers always ask the same questions: who knows what 9/11 is? What is its significance? When I was a junior in high school, I swear we had talked about the importance of 9/11 for six months.

Overloading our minds with terror.

Similar to the generation before us, we bring 9/11 into our daily conversations and we memorialize it on social media. For the generation younger than us, they’ll now even see it in their textbooks. I believe that 9/11 is important to my generation and will be important to the generation after me, but we will all view its significance differently.

One of my friends was born on Sept. 11, 2001. Her mother brought her into this world the day “time stopped.” Kids younger than me are not going to understand why adults, and even people from my generation, memorialize 9/11 the way they do. They are not going to understand it, whether they learn about it or not, because it doesn’t impact them as much, or even at all today.

Teachers and adults want kids and young adults to be more emotionally invested in 9/11. However, I don’t believe that we can force this sense of recognition down the throats of children and young adults, because they were not old enough to understand it or to remember it.

I recognize the significance and importance of Sept. 11, 2001. My heart goes out to those who lost their lives and their families, but I think we need to teach 9/11 for what it is, not what it makes us (those who experienced it) feel. It’s time to educate the world in a modern era, because not everyone remembers the day “time stopped.”

Tags: gen z, education, 911

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