The 9/11 Generation

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There is a generation of adults now that lived more than half their lives not knowing of a time when terrorism did not exist. But more importantly, there is a generation of adults now that don’t remember a time when terrorism was nonexistent. I was 9 when September 11 happened. 9 years old isn’t enough for anyone to get any sense of the world. Even finding out about September 11 was just a small bump in the road. There were girls and puberty and homework. What 9-year-old would have the mental capacity to contemplate the threat of terror and destruction to the world?

The event that took place 15 years ago shook the world in ways that no one could imagine. The entire world was changed. It was a different time. A different age. War was different. Death was different. Something clicked that day and no one really got over it. I don’t think anyone should.

A fire was lit that day. And we never really managed to put it out. 

It’s been 15 years since 9/11. There really is not much else to say that has not already been said. But I’d like to point out the disconnect between those who had full lives before 9/11 and those that came after. Because their view of the world vastly differ. It’s something that I have to constantly remind myself when dealing with people from another generation.

Recently, my father has gotten whiff of all the bombings ISIL have been dealing to countries and his inert paranoia set in. He told us siblings not to go to any crowded areas like shopping malls, concerts, train stations, or take the elevator. We were nonchalant about it. When others asked why I’m not worried or afraid of terrorism, I can only reply that I don’t know a world where terrorism (and the financial crisis) never existed. I’ve got nothing better to compare to. To me, the possible threat of being bombed by a suicidal madman is a daily occurrence. That idea has been implanted in my psyche for as long as I can remember.

There’s a reason why the new generation seem jaded. Because the world has provided a situation where they are guaranteed to be. Imagine growing up and living a life knowing that people committing mass murder is not just a thing, but a day-to-day possibility. That being a different race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation can get you shot by, no ‘enemies’, but police.

It’s not terrorism if you are a patriot. It’s not extremism if you’re fighting for freedom. It’s not racism if you’re a white man. It’s not socialism if you are the ones getting it.

Then, add an entire population percentage going, “Back in my days, you’re only cool if you smoked on planes and shoot smog out of your car’s ass at the same time.”

You get an entire generation of people literally born to clean-up the aftermath of the after party of an entire generation. The War on Terror. War on Drugs. Climate change. Free speech oppression. Decline of space exploration. Decline of culture and arts. End of the Renaissance man. Everything came after the baby boomers had their filled with partying like it’s 1988 for nearly 60 years.

The strawberry generation. The boomerang generation. Twixter. Millennials. Whatever fancy names society gave the group after. The real term should be the 9/11 Generation. Or, more precisely, the nine-one-one generation. As in, “Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?”

We, as the living, should remember their deaths, the end of their lives as an ode to our living. And as a tribute to the dead, we should do our best to prevent further tragedies.

From World War II up till 9/11, we had an entire generation of people who coasted on the rocket booster of progress post-Great Depression and war. As work was abundant and recovery efforts were spent freely, an entire generation of people, mostly the whites and Chinese of Asia got the best part of the deal. But everything was built up. All the indulgence in excess led to worldwide crisis being born by the day. The Gulf War. The build up to the Syrian civil war. The rapid rise in climate temperature. Immigration influx for cheap labour. Everything was given a pop on that faithful day on September 11. A ricochet of crisis and damages that continues exploding, even now.

I was brought up on the notion that if I studied and worked hard, if I gave it my all and did my best, I would succeed, that a good life awaited if I just ‘followed the system’. The world that I was raised in and the one that I stepped out to was vastly different from. The system failed, time and time again. I watched as corruption, greed, racism, xenophobia, and extremism, all overall greed for excess, wreck the world that I wish to pass down to the next generation. All for what? Oil. Martyrdom. Religious supremacy. Race supremacy. Gender discrimination. LGBT discrimination.

Are you saying the child adopted by two lovely homosexual couple is not in a family? So, the mother and father who abandoned the kid is the real “family”? What about widows and widowers? What about a child raised by a single parent after a divorce? Are they not in a family?

And the same people who commit these crimes continues to hold up the, “Back in my days…” notion. Except they started leaving out the ‘Back in my days…’ part.

“Back in my days, this was our holy land, not theirs.” Became, “This is our holy land, not theirs.”

“Back in my days, all a nigger needed was to spend time picking cotton and they won’t got to jail.” Became, “All a nigger needed is to spend time picking cotton and they won’t got to jail.”

“Back in my days, homos were disgusting abominations against God!” Became, “Homos are disgusting abominations against God!”

That’s why we get ISIL. That’s why we get the Syrian civil war. That’s why we get the Orlando nightclub shooting. Idiots with guns trying to stop idiots without guns. We get Donald Trump. We get Amos Yee. We get homophobes trying to shut down a god damn concert. Rising teenage suicide rates. Racial shootings gone amok. This. This is what the 9/11 generation is raised on. It’s no wonder that there’s an entire generation desensitized to violence and extremism when it’s all they’re raised on.

Now, I keep waiting for someone to tell me that this whole thing was just an elaborate joke. That a 14-year-old kid did not have his life cut short because a bunch of idiots thought they knew best, thought they had more rights and authority.

Anyway. Yeah. Fun stuff.

Don’t worry. We’re just remembering 9/11 here, everybody. Cause as tragic as the thousands of deaths when the Twin Towers fell, it’s honestly more straightforward than the countless more after that. Because 9/11 was a heinous, tragic act caused by a group of douchenozzles. But the over 1,300 dead from mass shootings in the States since then? Thousands from police brutality? Rising suicide rates in first world country due to continued lack of mental healthcare? Increased religious extremist actions in conservative countries? Capitalism leading to a widening wealth gap? All that? All that are from ‘good people’, who thinks their right to freedom and self-expression starts especially after another one ends.

A fire was lit that day. And we never really managed to put it out.

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