Living in a Post 9/11 World


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By: Rachel Theodora Appleton

Most aspects of our lives are determined before we are born. The society we will grow up in automatically configures a set of jobs we will get. Our gender determines how others will treat us and how we should act. The country we live in will even predispose us to certain personality and skill types. These facts can be overbearing, but don’t let it mess up your every day routine.

Countless conversations with my aunts and uncles about their childhood have showed me the variance between our generations. There are a number of differences between these two generations who grew up in the same country, in a parallel society, and in the same family! Many of my aunts and uncles are a part of the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, one that grew up during the Vietnam War, the McCarthy Era, and the Cold War. They marveled over the television and the birth of the Internet.

Being born in the mid 1990s, a great deal of my childhood was shaped by the events of 9/11/01 and it’s aftermath. I was a little second grader when the attack happened and I do remember the day in a few memories like class ending, and students getting picked up by their parents. My mom picking me up from school. Hitting traffic on the way home because hundreds of people wanted to see city from Washington Rock…arriving home, and watching the news in awe. As a seven year old, I couldn’t possibly understand what that day would bring to the country.

Things that would change for us included the school safety drills, safety precautions, and class lectures. The textbooks changed and the way the American population saw the United States changed. There might be worry in a parent’s eye for just dropping their 14 year old off at the mall.

An enormous flux of prejudice amongst the Muslim religion and many races swept the nation that still affects many opinions today. Many people started to live in fear. Still, one of the greatest impacts of the attack was the government’s involvement with our privacy. Street cameras, surveillance and the Patriot Act became average life of the millennial’s.

In the lives we live today, there’s privacy if you seek it. But usually our lives are on display through social media and the web. Recently, Governor Christie could be heard at the first GOP debate of the 2016 presidential campaign defending the act of accessing public phone records in case of terrorism. As I listened to his debate, I wasn’t enraged that my privacy would be invoked but I did reflect a bit more about what the world issues have done to my generation.

So 9/11/01 happened and now we just live life. We live it differently, but maybe with a bit less interest in violence. We use social media and Netflix to get away from the world and the overbearing negative news. Maybe it’s the case that Milennials are a bit jaded, and it’s just the way it’ll be. It’s just the world we are born into.

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