Twenty years ago, one of the most horrific events in American history occurred when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers. After two decades, should 9/11 be considered an essential element of American history? Though the impact it had on older generations was significant, is it still relevant to us? The generation that was in diapers when it happened? As college students, we may not see it every day, or even at all, but the events of 9/11 still impact us today. Because of this, I have to believe it’s still worth learning about.
Gen Z wasn’t around to witness 9/11; we learn about it through pop culture, social media, and history teachers. It’s not yet printed in textbooks so we learn through stories. Though we hear these stories, it’s hard to understand the impact Sept. 11, 2001, truly had on the people who lived through it. After 17 years, I am still not sure I fully understand the impact, but it’s important to try.
Our generation has known war since birth, but 9/11 was an attack on American soil compared to war on foreign grounds. You can see the effects in our daily lives. Before 2001, you could board an airplane after simply walking through a metal detector. Today, anyone who has taken a flight knows the extensive security involved.
And though many flight attendants today weren’t around to see 9/11, all of their training is based on it. For example, they learn how to identify threats on board or what they could use as weapons. A lot of people are still afraid to fly or go in skyscrapers. The Muslim community still receives backlash, and the losses of friends and family are prevalent in the hearts of the older generations. We don’t see it, but 9/11 shaped life in America today, for the better or worse.
How long does it take for something to become history? Twenty years? One hundred years? The number doesn’t matter. 9/11 is still on our minds and in our hearts; therefore, it matters. The younger generations like ours must understand the deep wound that this attack left in American society.
The fires may have all been put out, the smoke cleared, and the buildings have been rebuilt, but Sept. 11, 2001 should not be forgotten.