Friday marks the 14th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. After Pearl Harbor, nothing compares to the effect this tragedy had on American life.
I was 9 years old in Houston when my teacher told me my mother was picking me up early from school. Never had I seen a carpool line as long in my life, with my schoolmates initially celebrating our day off. What we didn’t understand was how major this situation was going to be for our future.
Many growing pains and history lessons after taught me what we have lost. My generation will never know what an easy airport trip is like. We will never know what it feels like to not live under constant surveillance at any given time or witness discrimination against Muslims.
We do not fully understand how isolated our understanding of global politics have been since we began living in a war on terrorism.
But what has shocked me most about my life on the East Coast is how many people my age have really said nothing about 9/11 this week. Sure, it is one day of the year, but the constant recollection of its significance on our lives surely deserves more reflection and discussion.
Philly is the second largest city on the East Coast; certainly we have more heart to give for the city up the coast that is mourning this day.
When I look at the current political climate we are all under, the issues we face today are rooted in the turmoil 9/11 created.
The wars and recession that followed were due in part to our government’s reshaping of foreign and domestic defense. Today, my generation cannot forget the term “weapons of mass destruction” or shake off the Islamophobia that made anyone wearing a veil or turban suspicious.
Our social and cultural misunderstandings of what it means to be an American largely comes from the overinflated sense of pride from the sorrow of that event. September 11th united us, but also divided us. Not all Americans were favored equally on that day.
So 14 years later, what can we do?
For one, we are the generation of digital activists and counter-cultural thinkers. Let’s bring light to addressing the first responders who were at Ground Zero and saved lives.
One cause that has been helping to support them is the World Trade Center Health Program. They are providing health treatment to 30,000 first responders for illnesses, such as cancer, caused during the aftermath of 9/11. However, the program is set to expire by Congress.
It would be momentous of us to lend our voices and demand that Congress #renew911health. This is also something that our city and state elected officials can also do to ensure that we never forget to honor the fallen and living lives that have been brave enough to help ensure our sense of freedom. We must never forget them.