Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years Since

In 2001, I was graduating from college, ready to take the next step in my life, transitioning from student to professional. On that final week as a college student, I, along with my peers, went on our Senior Week “Midnight Cruise” around Manhattan. There was a slight breeze and it was the perfect spring evening to take in the New York City Skyline and its numerous landmarks. The adult beverages were flowing on this open bar cruise, but even with all the drinking and partying among us Drewids, I vividly remember what I saw while on board. As the boat sailed along the Hudson and approached Lower Manhattan, the captain slowed down as he approached North Cove Marina, long enough for everyone on board to look at the World Trade Center. New York City’s tallest and best known skyscrapers, they stood stoically over Lower Manhattan, as they have since their completion, and on that evening, the shimmering lights of the offices and conference rooms seemed to reflect the buildings’ images in the Hudson River and further remind everyone on board the commanding stature of the Twin Towers. For those brief moments, it seemed as everyone took a break from the party and stood in awe of this engineering feat.

In just three and a half months, little did we know, on that May evening, the world would forever change, going down a path unknown and quite dangerous to anyone born after the Greatest Generation. Terrorists attacked those towers with commercial airliners (along with the Pentagon and had planned on taking out the Capitol or White House as well, but the United Flight 93 passengers sacrificed themselves to prevent that.), bringing the towers down, killing nearly 3000 Americans and changing nearly everything about the way we, as Americans, lived. It was a shock to all, as America realized she was not as isolated as once thought and America’s enemies are out there waiting for that one chance to attack.

This Act of War has been a Clarion Call for Gen-Xers, many of whom were at the beginning of their professional lives. Life paths were changed, as these Gen-Xers saw a commitment to serve their county; be it in the military, law enforcement or education, to see that the events of September 11, 2001 are never forgotten or repeated, and that the memory of those lost will live on.

Ten years after that fateful day, the US Military has been successful in its mission in rooting out terrorists who would do America harm, Usama Bin Laden has been captured/killed, the World Trade Center is being rebuilt (with the Freedom Tower now visible on the skyline) and long awaited monuments to those lost will be dedicated in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Ten years later, the example has been set and subsequent generations have joined the Gen-Xers, but the responsibility of American Gen-Xers is not over, and they are on their way to becoming known as the “9-11 Generation.” It is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly, but proudly. Gen-Xers, in years to come, must remember to stand as stoically to protect and defend American freedom, American values, American history and the American way of life, as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood stoically over New York City from 1973 to 2001.

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