“For most of [American] history, residents of the United States have never had to seriously consider the possibility of conventional interstate war on [American] soil or the possibility that nonstate terrorists could easily reach us on [American] soil” (Aber). On September 11th, 2001, a series of coordinated attacks by a group of terrorists known as al-Qaeda devastated the United States in a multitude of ways that define my generation. After “9/11,” members of Generation Y, including myself, were brought together under the shadow of terrorism – united in fear. The September 11th attacks led to economic depression, heightened security in public places, helicopter parents, and escalated the war on terrorism, thereby defining Generation Y as a generation of tragedy ingrained with a speck of paranoia in our daily lives.
The September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks were unique for American history and set my generation apart from others. “The events of September 11th led to the largest loss of American lives on American soil caused by nonstate foreign enemies of the United States” (Aber). These attacks for many members of my generation, myself included, represent the first time we could remember feeling completely defenseless since most of us were only in grade school. During the peak of childhood development, the innocent view of reality was crushed before our eyes, bringing to light the disaster of a world we live in; one our ancestors never wanted us to experience. Developing in a world of constant change and paranoid instability is a major difference between my generation and the previous. With the 2000’s nearly unfiltered graphic media, high-definition television, and constant news stories exposing people across the globe to such tragedy, wars and tragic events that past generations dealt with cannot be equally compared.
At merely six years of age, I vividly recall the attacks as the first time I experienced true tragedy. My teachers tried to stay composed while receiving phone calls and visits from the principal and other faculty member. That day, instead of taking the bus home as I normally would, my mom picked me up. She gave me a really big hug when she saw me and held my hand as we walked to the car. On the way home, she asked me an array of questions about what happened at school that day and whether the teachers told us anything about an “accident.” At home, I was not allowed play outside with the neighbors as if I was being punished. My parents came to my room after dinner that night, sat me down, and attended to my curiosity about that day’s events. I recall them telling me about “bad guys” stealing planes with people aboard, crashing them into really big buildings, and killing a lot of people on purpose. Across the globe, members of Generation Y were exposed to the attacks in a similar manner with the seed of worry planted in their minds.
For Generation Y, common goodbyes suddenly became scary; especially as children. As a grade...