Growing Up After 9/11

Growing Up After 9/11

A first grader's recollection.

I will never forget that day. Even though I was only seven years old and in the first grade, I still remember September 11th, 2001 like it was yesterday. As tiny first graders, we were doing “math time” like every other Tuesday of the year. One thing was different this Tuesday though… every few minutes the Secretary would come over the intercom into our classroom to call another student to the office, for they were getting signed our early one student at a time. I had no idea why so many of my friends were getting signed out of school early. All of sudden, the secretary came back on and called my name. I remember walking to the office curious as to why I was now getting signed out early. My mom had only dropped me off to school around an hour prior. I remember walking in the school office and seeing my mother standing at the counter crying, the secretary was also crying, and they had the TV on. I couldn’t read at the time, but I recall seeing a building on fire on the TV. When driving home I asked my mother what was wrong and she proceeded to tell me that we were going home to be safe from some bad people… that once we got home we would be safe and not to worry. After finally getting home, my mother and I sat on the couch as we watched the news. She explained to me that some very bad people had flown airplanes into the buildings I was watching on my screen. I remember seeing them collapse live, I remember seeing the pentagon being attacked live, and I remember going upstairs to my room and grabbing my stuffed animals. I returned back downstairs and I told my mother that if I was going to die, I wanted to die with my stuffed animals.

As a young kid, I was a little worried that something might happen to us, but I wasn’t all that scared as a whole because this was something I was watching on TV, not in person. Now that I look back on it 15 years later, I fully realize how traumatizing that day was for me as a young child. Even though my parents nor myself knew of the long term effects that day would have on me and children my age, but looking back I truly see what an impact it made. I was exposed to terrorism on American soil at such a young age. I grew up watching the 9/11 attacks on live TV, watching the IRAQ war on live TV, watching shooting after shooting on live TV. Ever since 9/11, my generation has grown up with terrorist attacks all around us almost as though it is the new normal. My generation has grown numb to terrorism because it is so prevalent now. I hope and I pray that my children will not grow up in a country where Terrorism is so common as it has been for me growing up.

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.


While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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