Citizenship Now: Will Anything Change? Quick Essay On Post 9/11 Citizenship

874 words - 3 pages

In the course of a few weeks in the autumn of 2001, everything changed. A devastating terrorist attack occurred. It wasn't in Syria. More than 3,000 innocent people perished. It wasn't in Iran. The nation as a whole changed its perspective of who they were as a people. It wasn't in Pakistan. The global community felt the impact of the tragic loss of life and hideous method of attack. It wasn't in Jerusalem. For the people of the United States of America, September 11, 2001 'changed everything'. Many began to once again realize that America is built on the people that make it up. We had lost sight of that a long time ago. As Ray Suarez says in his novel The Old Neighborhood, "Once we no longer had cultural cohesion, it was easier and easier to draw circles of concern more and more narrowly around one's own doorstep" (15). People had begun to believe more in themselves, and less in each other. It took flames in the clear blue sky of 9/11 to wake us to the real tragedy in our country - the loss of our pride, the loss of our founding beliefs, the loss of our sense of what others mean in our lives; unfortunately those same flames served as a death sentence for many Americans of Middle Eastern descent. The basic concepts of citizenship were quickly lost again, the lessons learned those few days forgotten or abandoned.'Citizenship' is defined as "membership in a community (as a college)," or "The quality of an individual's response to membership in a community" ("Citizenship"). But what does this really mean? One can reside in a particular area, and thus be a member of a community. They are legally a 'citizen' of this area. However, citizenship goes much deeper than houses and streets. Citizenship encompasses loyalty, and having something in common with the people around you. The 'quality response' the dictionary refers to is asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar - or giving your neighbor a cup. On that fateful day, communities gathered for the first time in decades to show unity, to show that they really did care about who their neighbors were. People held funeral services, gathered at impromptu vigils, and just consoled each other, telling themselves that 'Everything will be OK.' The kind of citizenship people had been longing for - had been telling themselves was unreachable - was now seen on street corners, stores, baseball games, in government; it seemed as though if there were Americans present, there was a sense of belonging. This was not to last.Unfortunately, on September 11, 2001, many people were instilled with a great panic. This sense of fear, of not knowing,...

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