*points above* A friend of mine posted this on her message board today. I almost cried reading it.
I’ve often thought that our generation was probably one of the only generations to grow up in relative peace. Until 9/11 we’d never had to face war (well there was the first Gulf War, which was short and sweet so to speak), or civil unrest (save for the Rodney King riots, which were truthfully half a world away from Philadelphia) or food & gas rationing. We really had everything and no fear of the Russians coming to get us. No air raid drills, no bomb shelters just Duran Duran and legwarmers.
I’ve often thought that 9/11 offered us a sudden and violent glimpse of our own mortality. I was 28, almost 29 on September 11, 2001 and for the first time in my life I felt real and honest fear that it could be me or mine. The world changed so violently that day and for at least me ripped away the safety blanket I’d been living under. Suddenly the “Me Generation”, who was in the midst of our marrying, having babies, building families, building careers stage of life, understood what being vulnerable felt like. Suddenly the world, which had heretofore been our playground, was suddenly a violent and scary place.
I was born into a family with grandparents who’d not only lived through both world wars but also the Great Depression, a family with parents who knew what it was to fear their son being drafted and sent to Vietnam. I heard stories but I didn’t know what it was like to sacrifice or to fear a dangerous world. I watched as people danced on the Berlin Wall as it came down. I was too young during the 70s to understand the horrors of the Vietnam War or the violent images of Kent State broadcast into homes every night.
Before 9/11 we all thought we had forever to chase our dreams. In one moment our blissful idyllic existence was gone. The bubble had burst and there was no going back and as the decade progressed one war became two and the economy came crashing down. Suddenly those of us who’d never wanted for anything or understood what it was to truly be afraid were just scraping by hoping against hope that it was not our job that got eliminated and that it was not our plane that got hijacked. Suddenly there was anthrax in the mail and plots to poison food at salad bars.
Everything had been handed to us on silver platters and now there was more to lose. We were working just to keep afloat, to keep paying the mortgage on McMansions and the loan on the BMW, to keep our kids in private schools. We voted for change and believed that once that dolt Bush was out of office it would all turn around. What we did not plan on was things getting worse, much worse before they could get better.
Here we are almost ten years after our generation’s tragedy and times are still tough, the terrorists are still out there and there are no guarantees that the economy will rebound any time soon nor are there any guarantees that there will not be another terrorist strike and there’s Iran and North Korea to worry about.
For a generation born without the threat of war or hunger, that assumed that our children would grow up in the same idyllic peaceful bubble, this is a lot to think about. We’re at about the midway point and there have been dreams used and wasted and perhaps the world is not better for having had us in it. How breathtaking is that, knowing that it is half over?