Generation shift

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. I’ve written before about Howard Kane, one of the victims of the World Trade Center attack.  Most of us, I would imagine, have the details of that day seared in our consciousness.

It occurs to me in working with our new freshmen that they most likely don’t have a memory of where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. They were seven years old at the time.

An event that is one of the most seminal events of our age is something that may be a vague memory for most of our students, most likely of how the adults in their lives were reacting to what was happening.  (I feel that way about the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I was ten at the time and while I knew something bad had happened, I really wasn’t cognizant of the gravity of the events. I just knew my parents were upset.)

I suppose this generational disconnect is what our grandparents felt when our parents barely remembered Pearl Harbor. Or for our parents’ generation, when we barely remember JFK. (I have vague memories of a funeral on television. I was five.)  These students were born after the Challenger disaster, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and they were only four when the first Gulf War happened. I hope that the seminal event for this generation is something universally wonderful, rather than awful. We can all pray that it’s so.

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