Sept. 11, 2001, is "defining moment’ for 20-somethings |

Sept. 11, 2001, is "defining moment’ for 20-somethings

I remember waking up last Sept. 11, my alarm tuned to a sports talk radio station. Instead of the usual inconsequential sports banter, all I remember hearing were reports on “an apparent terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

I immediately turned on CNN and walked across the room in stunned disbelief as I looked at the smoky remnants of the recently collapsed South Tower of the World Trade Center, with the north tower still burning.

What became clear early on Sept. 11, 2001, was that this was the defining moment of the collective lives of my generation to date. As someone in my late 20s at the time of the attack, I had always heard but never really understood the “where were you when JFK was shot phenomenon,” and the biggest threat to our collective freedom had been high oil prices while watching bombing highlights of the Gulf War on TV.

In an instant, I had a newfound appreciation of what previous generations had fought and worked for on our behalf. It became clear to many members of my generation how much we had taken for granted in our lives to date – safety, freedom, economic prosperity and insulation from world politics – and suddenly, all of these were now in question.

What also became clear was that we could no longer sit back and watch things happen while we remained insulated in our own lives.

The actions of our lives affect others, within our own communities, within our own country, but also around the world. We can either selfishly focusing solely on our own lives, or we can make efforts to make our communities better. Sept. 11 taught many in my generation the importance of getting involved in our communities and that efforts need to be made to make our communities and our country stronger.

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