Twenty Years Later The World Stands Still


Keith Goldstein/Getty Images

Morgan Salter, Staff Writer/Editor

Over this past weekend, our nation observed the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. For many Americans the day is ingrained into their memory: they can remember where they were, what they were doing, and obviously what they felt, all so vividly just like it happened yesterday. Our generation, however, those born after 2001, do not remember that day we grew up in its shadow, so what is our perspective?

Growing up I remember my parents teaching me about 9/11. They would use phrases such as bad guys did something bad to the United States, everything changed after that day, etc…Now since growing up I understand more and can comprehend what actually happened that day. One phrase that always stayed with me growing up is: after that day, everything changed.

As I walk through DIA the thing I dread the most, like many Americans, is that long security line. And every time I complain about it, my parents without skipping a beat will tell me that you never used to have to take off your shoes, have restricted ounces of fluid, take things out of your bag, and many other things. Most importantly you used to be able to walk your family down to the gate. Which, to me now, is just jaw-dropping.

President Bush giving his famous Bullhorn Speech(Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Every year when our nation observes 9/11 I always make it a priority to watch a documentary on it. What I see in the film at those moments is a nation terrified, confused, and shaken. Yet what comes out of it is something my generation rarely, if ever sees: a nation united. It is clear from any pictures or film, and even my parents tell me, that the nation being so united was nothing like they have ever seen, and certainly not what this generation has seen in their lifetime.

9/11 brought out unity and emotions. I remember visiting New York City before and after the monuments were built. I do not remember how much I felt since I was so young before the monuments were erected. Yet, I do remember I had a lot of questions and my parents would answer them. I was still at that young age when I could not really comprehend why and what happened.

An aerial view of the 9/11 Memorial (Photo by Jin S. Lee)

However, I do remember vividly my emotions and feelings upon returning to the city and going to ground zero to view the reflecting pools. I remember me staring at all the names and wondering why a person would feel so inclined to do such a horrible act. I remember hearing the water splashing down into the pool and me staring into the center and just seeing darkness. The more I stared into the pool, the feeling of emptiness engulfed me, something many felt that day. I remember staring at the water and the bronze panels and seeing my distorted self along with grief, sorrow, and remembrance.

It is a weird sensation to be connected to an event so deeply, yet at the same time not even being born when it took place. I feel as though others and myself have the same feeling on the day and the same expression of the emptiness that fills our minds: watching the towers get hit, hearing the voice messages of people saying goodbye, and the slew of gut-wrenching pictures that came out of the attack.

I may not have been alive when the terrorist attacks on 9/11, happened. However, I still feel connected to the event, not disconnected. Now, all grown up, I can understand the tragedy that took place on that day. Still, just like my younger self, I cannot comprehend how a group of people could find it in themselves to inflict so much pain and sorrow.

After that day the world did change forever. And whether it be 20 years, 50 years, or even 100 years, we shall never forget.

We remember them.