Generation 9/11

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First Posted: 9/5/2014

September 11, 2001 remains a date cemented in the minds of many.

No matter where a person was that morning, the chain reaction of the events that unfolded in New York City resonated from coast to coast and eventually throughout world. Whether directly or indirectly affected, the day has become synonomous with rememberance ceremonies, tears and anger. It’s also a moment of recent history which takes front page in many classes across the board.

King’s College Assistant Professor of History Thomas Mackaman remembers the terroristic tragedy wholly. He was a graduate student at the University of Illinois the day the country experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

“I got a call early in the morning from family overseas asking if I’d seen what had happened,” he said. “I turned on the TV and, like everyone else, I was horrified. It seemed unreal.”

Thirteen years later, Mackaman is remembering the horrific attacks with his own history students.

“I was six years old when 9/11 happened,” said student Zach Shoeneberger of Northampton. “I really do not remember much about that day.”

While some of Mackaman’s students are too young to remember that infamous Tuesday clearly, some weren’t too young to comprehend the impact.

“I was in kindergarten when the 9/11 attacks happened,” said another student, Alisabeth Pickett of Wilkes-Barre. “I was in the classroom coloring when the teachers turned on the TV. Our teacher told us to put our coats on and grab our backpacks. We had no clue what was going on. We went to the church next door to our school and prayed.”

Shelly Mack of Shavertown was in second grade when two planes struck the Twin Towers.

“I was sitting in class when the teacher all of a sudden burst into tears. I was seven years old and confused,” Mack said.

With young adults such as Shoeneberger, Pickett and Mack too young to personally empathize with the impact of the attacks, what legacy has September 11 left on today’s generation?

Remembering details that a 6-year-old is capable of recalling, Shoeneberger said he has a sense of awareness of how today’s generation has been affected by September 11.

“I think 9/11 has affected our generation by making many people judge certain people,” he said. “I think our generation does not trust any race but their own.”

Matt Madison of Mountain Top, another student in Mackaman’s class, said he believes today’s generation’s mindset has been altered since 2001.

“Nine-eleven has molded our generation’s set of fears,” Madison said.

Other students fail to notice the impact September 11 had on today’s generation. They said they are accustomed to the way life is.

“This might sound horrible but I don’t think 9/11 has affected today’s generation too much,” said Philip Treviseni of Norwich, New York.

Since some of the newest adults who are making their mark on today’s society said they don’t understand the seriousness of how the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks changed the world, what legacy will be passed down to those who weren’t alive in 2001?

“I think today’s generation needs to pass on the legacy of lives that were lost,” said Meagan Freeman of Drifton, whose uncle was a first-responder at Ground Zero.

Jared Kotsko of Mountain Top said the lesson to be passed down to future generations is to stay alert.

“Anything bad can happen at any time due to terrorism and we have to be on watch for events like 9/11,” Kotsko said.

On a more positive note, Madison said he wants future generations to remember that fear shouldn’t hold anyone back.

“We can’t let fear grind things to a halt,” he said. “Fear should not cause people to stand still.”