When History Is Personal

When History Is Personal

For some, 9/11 is nothing more than a page in a textbook.

As the world and the United States remembers 9/11, this New Yorker wanted to point out a stark difference in society 15 years later - most high schoolers weren't alive for or remember 9/11.

In school, it was always kind of an unspoken reality we all knew about. There wasn't much to say because we all remembered it, and we all knew at least one person who was affected by it or had died in it. The lesson about 9/11 was literally a somber "you guys lived it, so I don't need to lecture". Might I add being in New York and New Jersey is very different than being in other areas of the country, because we were at the forefront. I have always found it to be an interesting conversation when 9/11 comes up with people who live in other areas of the country, not from New York City or remotely close to it. It is also a conversation where I am notably very quiet and occasionally shaking my head.

Now that the September 11th attacks occurred fifteen years ago, most of us can recall the day even if we were in grade school. Most of us, especially New Yorkers, can also recall seeing the Twin Towers on the daily, and seeing them in movies offers a strange experience. The thing is, schools are being tasked with the hard reality to teach older children and teenagers about it. For older generations, 9/11 is burned into their memories, so much so movies with scenes that resemble a terrorist attack can get people visibly upset. Teachers need to tread lightly when teaching, but still try to convey how horrible of a day it really was. Events like Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, and even the Civil War (which saw the most American casualties of any war) have faded enough into the history books that it can be a relatively comfortable, albeit melancholy, conversation. Odds are many of us don't know Pearl Harbor survivors or Holocaust survivors, given the amount of time elapsed alone. September 11th is different, especially for the New York area. We know survivors, we knew people who died, and some of us probably even saw some of the death and destruction itself. One World Trade Center is quite gorgeous, but one has to realize what happened for it to get there - and that's probably quite difficult for those who weren't alive for it. People who were just alive during it likely feel a connection to it those who weren't alive for it probably don't understand all that well. The movies from the '90s aren't as weird for them - the skyline always looked as it does now. There's also cars from the 1950s in old movies, too.

The high schoolers and kids who weren't alive for 9/11 may just view it as another Pearl Harbor or Holocaust - something purely in the history books. So on the anniversary of 9/11, I urge these high schoolers to not shy away from a story or coverage or even political drama. I urge them to be sensitive and try to save their teachers an awkward lecture dominated by an obvious generational difference. I urge them to listen to the people willing to talk about it despite the utterly horrific subject matter and ultimately traumatizing accounts you might read. Remember that unlike the Holocaust and the Civil War, a larger amount of people among you remember it and might have even experienced it. Don't view it as text in a history book, because the scarred New Yorkers and American citizens as a whole are among you everywhere. They haven't faded into the history books as much as you'd like to think. Take it upon yourself to do some late-night Googling and ask your older friends what it was like. After all, the results and ramifications of this event will most certainly be affecting your lives, if it hasn't already, in ways that can't be taught in a history book. But being respectful (especially in New York) is probably at the forefront of this issue. You weren't alive, but a lot of us were - and it's our job to educate you, but your job to understand it. And thank you, teachers, for having to take that up year round.

More importantly, if you visit the 9/11 memorial, I urge you to also not take selfies. If you'd like a unanimous way to piss off about 8 million people at once, just go there and take a selfie. Don't be surprised if you're yelled at, given the side-eye, or insulted, either.

This is New York, you know, and we have a tough reputation for a reason.

Cover Image Credit: wallpapercave.com

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating


Trying to figure out what to do in life.


I never saw the crossroad

Where I could cross n' roam

Under an arch or dome. [1]

I just kept on the road

That was laid out,

Told to hold out

Till it pays out. [2]

Now I think its too late

Been walking too long,

Classes are all wrong

But masses too strong. [3]

So I follow with my head down

And chest up, succeeding cause

I'm too scared to fuck it up. [4]

But I have a need to lead,

Top-down and gears up

Leaving nothing to the dust.

But if I drop out, I'm a fuck up. [5]

Is it better to live and rust

Or drive till it busts

With trust you can find the way? [6]

[1] - Play on roam/Rome. Starts the poem by expressing the feeling of being trapped in my path in life. I felt like I never got the chance to figure out what I wanted to do.

[2] - I think a lot of it was I was following what people told me I should be doing.

[3] - I have a feeling that it is too late to change my course of life. I'm in a college for business, taking classes about business, and everyone around me wants to do business.

[4] - This is saying that even though I am not passionate about what I am doing I am still trying to succeed only because I'm scared of failing or quitting.

[5] - I want to leave and lead myself, do something where I'm not following but I don't know how to do that. This part starts a car reference, idk I've been watching Formula 1 on Netflix and its dope.

[6] - This is the question I've been asking myself, wondering if I should continue on with my path or follow my passion.

Related Content

Facebook Comments