Christopher Crawford was so afraid that he had to lie down in the nurse’s office. The TV in Michelle Lopez’s classroom wasn’t working, so her class crowded into Mr. Heyman’s room, where the boys were asked to give their seats to the girls. Maeli Goren doesn’t remember much from that day at all.
These students and thousands of others in the country are members of the generation who lost its innocence from the Sept. 11 attacks. Elementary school students at the time, these and most college students have been affected by that day and the proceeding War on Terror.
Everyone has different memories and different reflections of the day. Some lost their family members, and not a day goes by when they don’t think of the tragedy. When college came around, others moved to schools near the attack sites and are reminded of it on their way to the library, to work, to a friend’s house. Some aren’t affected by it at all, but reflect on the day often as an act of patriotism and respect. And, when classes have assignments and job interviews approach, some students rarely think of it all, as life gets in the way.
Christopher Crawford, a student at The George Washington University, remembers feeling a deep sense of safety and protection the night of the attacks. As a fourth grader in the Boston area, he was terrified a family member was on one of the planes. Yet, when he walked home and found his parents, he felt a deep sense of security despite the danger.
“Looking back, it’s ironic how safe I felt, how protected I felt, even as our nation’s protective safeguards had failed earlier that day,” he said.
But 11 years later, students have different takes on the attacks and how deeply it affects them.
For example, Crawford states that he thinks of Sept. 11 often. He thinks of it on the anniversary, when he boards a plane or when he longs for peace amongst the United States and other nations.
As a law student at the Cardozo School of Law in New York City, Michelle Lopez’s law school is near the attack site and she plans to visit the site of the Liberty Tower later today. The War on Terror is a topic discussed in her law classes often. However, in the years following the attack, she recalls that the moments of silence in her Miami schools grew shorter.
“There were new issues to worry about in my community,” she said, “and although Facebook statuses made reference to the day, others were quite cynical.”
Many years after the attack, some feel a growing disconnect to the events, as they are able to move on with their life.
“Today, I didn’t realize until around 2 p.m. what day it was,” said Maeli Goren, a student at Princeton. “Sometimes, when I’m reminded of it, I feel a sense of shock. It’s a ‘how could I have possibly forgotten?’ kind of feeling. And yet forgetting can be kind of easy.”
While the blow has been softened over time, College Magazine asks its readers to take a moment and stop what they’re doing. Take a second to remember where you were, how you felt when the attacks occurred. Take a moment to reflect on the lives that were lost during the attacks and the following War on Terror. Take a moment to appreciate your family, friends and loved ones.
College Magazine thanks the brave lives that fought for our freedom and continue to fight every day for our safety. The staff’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families on this memorable day.