9.11.06

Categories: college |

Today is the beginning of the third week of school. Because of Labor Day, it’s only my second meeting of my Monday night American History course. It is unlike most of my night course as it contains a large amount of freshmen. The first night we met, my professor asked who in the class remembered or knew of the Soviet Union. I was appalled to discover that only a third of the class raised their hands. I know that at 24, I am a little bit older than your average student in this basic seminar class. However, the Soviet Union fell in 1991. I guess my age has really snuck up on me. It has been six years since I graduated high school.

Tonight I realized how truly different those six years makes me compared to my classmates. It is September 11th. It has been five years since those towers fell. I have always felt a little guilty because I’ve never fully internalized the significance of that event. This day is my sister’s birthday, and a part of me has always wanted to remember it as that day. I didn’t want the terrorist to make me afraid of a day that has always had a more positive feeling. I was moved when I saw the images of the fireman draping the flag across the crumbling remnants of the twin towers. I admit that I sang patriotic songs on the way to class and looked forward to my professor, a veteran of the Iraqi war, teaching. However, I am alarmed of the images that I saw as I walked across campus to my classroom. As I approached, I saw the overwhelming sight of hundreds of girls chanting and dancing in a circle. Rush.

I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of sororities. Maybe this is because of my secret envy. They are a society of elitist. Girls that can afford the time and money to dedicate. I have either been on scholarship or working or both. I’ve been focused on much more difficult and pertinent things. I’ve not had the luxury to “rush”. Regardless to my bitterness, I do not feel that this day is an appropriate day to shift our focus from the realities of life and place our hopes on join a privileged club. I know that five years ago, these freshmen were 13 years old. They do not remember the Soviet Union. They probably do not remember the panic of their parents and other adults as the rushed to pick them of from school, or pick up bread and water, or scramble to the pumps on that fateful day five years ago. They have the luxury to not remember as vividly as some of their classmates. However, I know that they do remember that day. They remember where they were when they learned. They have seen the footage, probably once a week, for the last five years of their life. Terrorism has been part of their entire adult life. Maybe, without knowing the comfort of our ignorance, they cannot fathom the fear of our knowledge. The United States has been at war since their pre-pubescent teen years.

This has been a reality check for me. I am a firm believer that we cannot let the experience of 9/11 change our day to day lives. I believe that would be giving into the terrorist. At the same time, I struggle with what I saw. It seems completely disrespectful. Why this day? Are we so removed? This has definitely reaffirmed my decision to not join a sorority. If I were a freshman, I think the group I would want to join would be the one chanting U-S-A, or the group waving an American flag, or the one praying for peace and safety of our troops. But then again, if I were a freshman today, I would have been born in 1988. I would have owned a cell phone long before I had my first car. The Berlin Wall would have only existed in history books. And terrorism would be as normal as the AIDS epidemic.



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