Friday, September 11, 2009

The World We Know

Everyone I know remembers where they were when they heard that an airplane had hit the World Trade Towers.

It will be the question that our children ask us when they have homework to interview their parents about growing up. Just like how I asked my parents where they were and what they were doing when they heard JFK had been shot.

We talk a lot about how our lives changed that Tuesday. About the war waged since the following March. About the more complicated security in airports. About level yellow and orange security levels. About How America changed in the view of the rest of the world. About how we came together for a moment.

We talk about a pre 9/11 world and a post 9/11 world.

For my children, their entire lives are post 9/11.

They will never have any other context than a world without the Trade Towers. A world with a war in Iraq. A world where people continue to be afraid of Muslims and Middle Eastern men.

I will never be able to give them the world before.

Just like they will never know a world before Columbine, where parents sent their children to school without worrying if that school would be the next one in the headlines.

While our world and our world view changed forever 8 years ago, the world for my children did not. The change we live in and still feel every day, is the only world they will ever know.


  1. It's amazing to think in such a short time, how it's become more history than something that happened recently. One day it will be like Pearl Harbor was to me when I was growing up. Just something they teach in school...but everyone will feel that distance we always felt from historic events we heard about.

  2. I understand what you mean, Katherine. Every child born after 9/11/01 only knows the world after 9/11/01. They have no way of understanding what it was like before that. They have no way of understanding a time when we could accompany our loved ones to the airport gate or looking at the NY skyline and seeing the towers reaching high into the sky.

    I just wish we all remembered what it was like to be so united. And I wish we could hold onto that solidarity.