Checking Facebook, it would be hard to forget what day it is. Statuses like “10 years on and we still remember, still grieve. Bless those who lost their lives or loved ones in 9/11, never forget,” and “Rest in Peace to all the Americans who were taken from us ten years ago. United We Stand, always and forever,” are numerous as I glance through my News Feed.
It is interesting to me that the Facebook generation—my generation—is the last to actually remember the events of this day, and therefore truly understand how fear gripped the nation.
Even to me, a 17 (almost 18) year old, the day is hazy.
I was living in Monticello, Illinois at the time. I remember waking up for school like it was a regular day, ready as my little 7-year-old self could ever be. I was excited to head to Mrs. Garret’s second grade classroom because she had just gotten a new puppy and had promised to bring it in.
Nothing was out of the ordinary until lunchtime, when my friend Cody mentioned the Twin Towers.
“Did you know that a plane crashed into some buildings in New York this morning?” he asked.
“No I didn’t,” I responded. “Why would someone want to do that?”
“I don’t know,” he said. And the conversation was over.
I carried out the rest of my day as usual.
My experience with September 11 was purely ‘did you hear this?’ and ‘did you hear that?’ I did not witness the towers falling; no one close to me suffered, and the event was basically reduced to another bad occurrence they show on the news every morning.
Only after, when remembering that day as a teenager, did I fully understand the impact it had on the nation.
No one had to see it. No one had to be a direct witness to the destruction to feel the fear, sense the confusion, and suffer the agony for those who died. And now, 10 years later, I can join the adults who understand the events as they actually happened and understand the fear that everyone felt. I have grown out of my hazy, blissful childhood innocence, and I am now forced to see the day as it actually was: An attack, but a day that drew the entire population of the United States of America together.
As I listen to my parents discuss what they remember about 9/11, I can conclude that the only way we can commemorate that day is by talking about it, remembering it, and appreciating it, for what it was. Expensive memorials, beautiful symphonies and encouraging speeches are nice, but the only way we can truly thank those who died for this country is by never forgetting them.
That is the beauty of being in this ‘Facebook generation.’ We are the last to actually remember the day as it occurred. We are the last to have our individual stories that we can share. And we have to continue sharing these stories as we grow to understand what our stories mean, as that is how we can truly honor the men and woman who died.
“God bless those who gave their lives on that awful day.”
“We haven’t forgotten 9-11-01.”
“Today we remember the innocent who lost their lives. Prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones 10 years ago. Always proud to be an American, will never forget this day.”
“9/11/01 ♥ proud to be an American.”
“Remembering all those who lost their lives this day.”
“we remember. 9.11.01”
“Ten years. I’m proud to be an American. RIP”