Perception of 9/11 shifts as generations age
It has been 16 years since four planes were hijacked by the terrorist group al-Qaida during the morning of September 11, 2001.
The average college freshman was born in 1999, meaning they were most likely too young to remember the attacks, along with many sophomores and juniors.
“We’re living in the sort space where the events of September 11th are kind of both in the personal memories and the history,” history professor Joshua Cochran said. “In all likelihood that’s going to shape the understandings going forward.”
Multigenerational conversations regarding significant world events are a part of society and it helps people learn, Cochran said.
“Generationally speaking, the adult world is filled with diverse individuals who have that different cultural memory and touchstones,” Cochran said.“That’s typically how the adult world works, this sort of generational interaction. I think it’s a good thing.”
As a professor, Cochran said he has already experienced the phenomenon of teaching students who don’t remember the significant world events he has lived.
“I had this sort of revolution 10, 15 years ago when I was teaching Cold War for the first time and I had the realization that not all of my students remembered the Berlin Wall coming down or living under the Cold War,” Cochran said. “The first time, that sort of phenomenon really struck me, so you know seeing the 9/11, that’s just kind of a reminder every generation is kind of going to have to learn for themselves the significance and the meanings of these events.”
Microbiology freshman Izzy Novak said she remembers how her family reacted to 9/11.
“I know my mom was watching it and my dad was on deployment in the Navy and she was home alone calling her sister and watching the news as it happened,” Novak said.“I’m on the post-9/11 G.I. Bill and so I’m pretty proud of my dad being in the Navy and giving me that opportunity.”
After the terror attacks, agribusiness management senior Ryan Myers said the main thing he remembers is that he had to stay with a babysitter for a while because his parents were in Mexico once airplanes were grounded.
For those who don't remember 9/11, as more time passes, it is still important to remember it, psychology freshman Logan Fish said.
“I feel like there have been events after 9/11 that have been similar and I feel like eventually there’ll be something that will be their 9/11, like the generation before us had J.F.K. assassination," Fish said. "So I feel like there’ll be something eventually that will be that for them. As far as 9/11 goes, I feel like it will just become less somber maybe for the coming generations because they didn’t experience it and they didn’t see the emotions first hand."