Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Was Nine

So, I know there've been, like, a-hundred-million posts, feeds, status-updates, pintrest pins, etc about 9/11/01 today, but here's another.

This is the story of my generation.  This is the story of those of us who didn't know what was going on because people thought we were too young to hear the horrible truth.

I was nine.  I was in the fourth grade, Mrs. Shelton's class.  She'd read a book to us that day.  I don't remember the book.  I remember someone telling us that we weren't to listen to the other kids on the bus when they said things about what had been going on, not that I knew or cared what was being said.  No one talked to me anyway.

I didn't even get to know what had happened until I got home.  And even then, it didn't hit me right away.  Okay, so two skyscrapers got hit in New York City by airplanes flown by bad men.  That was all I knew for a little while.  I didn't know about the Pentagon or the other flight (see, I don't know the number off hand and it's an injustice to the retelling of the story if I look it up right now) until the next day.  And only then because my dad's aunt worked in the Pentagon.

I didn't know they were connected until a few weeks later.  It didn't make any sense to me, and I wasn't directly affected since none of my family had been hurt.  Because while those people who lost their lives that day were many in number, like many, many kids across the country, they weren't related to me, they had no affect on me.

To this day, sometimes I have a hard time remembering why we stop on 9/11 (well, okay, it's only difficult to remember if I don't stop on Facebook).

But isn't that a testament of where this country is going and will be going.  We will have a huge generation gap, right between my peers and the peers of my older friends (who, mind, are only a few years older than myself) of people who don't realize that, yes, 9/11 did directly affect us.  It affected the country as a whole.  It affected the way we live, the way we work, the way we go about our daily duties, the way we vacation, the way we spend our time with others.

Or at least, it affected our parents, our aunts and uncles, our grandparents, those who had family directly involved.  And therefore we, too, were affected.  And very, very few of us actually recognize that.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the sacrifice made that day, eleven years ago.  But I will never remember it the same as those who came before me, nor will I remember it the same as those who came after.  Because they won't remember.  They won't know what they were doing that day, because they didn't care.  They were children.  I was a child.  When my teacher told us not to listen to the other kids' speculation on the bus, I didn't know what it was in reference to.  What I get out of that warning now, eleven years later, is that we weren't meant to know what was going on.  We were to stay children, because we were the last hope that generation had for our country making it out of the situation in tact.

I wonder if anyone but me sees the folly in that vain hope.  Because not letting us know has hurt us all the more.  When we come into power (a day one of my friends talks about with glowing pride, hoping for all the good changes that should come of it) we won't know what today meant, except that it was a day we weren't supposed to know about.  So we don't.  We won't.  We'll forget, and what will that do to our country?  Where will that leave us?

In a completely different world, just like what happened eleven years ago.

Because it changed the world.

Keep strong, my fellow Americans.  Keep solidarity.  Remember, always, what happened that day, even if you weren't directly affected -- that means you, young people -- because you were affected.  We all were.

Until Next Time, Dear Readers

1 comment:

  1. That was a really good post. I hadn't thought of it that way. I was 12, in 7th grade. I had stayed home sick from school that day, and I remember getting up and watching tv (which I wasn't supposed to be doing) and as I was flipping through the channels, and I remember thinking, "what is this terrible movie and why is it on all the channels?" My classmates were in English, in the library, and at my school, (here's the difference between an elementary school and a middle school I guess) they came over the PA and made an announcement of what happened, and many teachers turned on their tvs and let the students watch the coverage. The school also had counselors set up in the library for any student who needed them (as they did when Korrinne shot herself) and allowed parents to come and get their children if they so chose to.

    After finally realizing that it was not a movie, I sat and watched it for a minute. It didn't take me long to figure out what was happening. And I cried. I was scared. I called my mom at work and she came and got me and took me back to work with her. I remember getting out of the car and noticing how all the birds had stopped singing. Everything was just... quiet. Eerily quiet. And I went inside and took refuge in the blissful innocence of four year olds.

    I understand why your school didn't tell you what was happening. It would have caused panic. But I think you make a great point when you say that it is important that children know what happened so that they CAN remember. But you will. You'll remember because of people like me, who cry when they see ground zero. And younger children who won't remember will still learn of it because it is already being taught in history books (though, I have little faith in the public school system). They took the footage off the TVs pretty quickly, and I agree with country music, we should have kept seeing it. We should have seen the aftermath and the people and the families who lost their loved ones and the lucky few who survived, we should have heard their stories and realized that it is real to them still every single day.

    I don't remember columbine. But I will never forget the VT shootings. But its through a book, She Said Yes, that I got a real feel of what those people went through with columbine. There are ways to honor the memory of those who died, and those who fought to save them. As long as we continue to educate ourselves and our children, it will not be forgotten. Everyone harps on voting being the most important responsibility of a citizen. I think that our most important responsibility is educating our children, not just in reading and math, but in history and why those things are important, in sacrifice and honor, on being a good human being, and on caring about the plight of those who have it worse off than we do.

    AHHH I'm ranting. Gotta go return my books. Shutting up now.