Overheard on CNN.com: Growing up in the shadow of 9/11
May 5th, 2011
05:54 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Growing up in the shadow of 9/11

Comment of the day:

"We gotta raise the bar for what is considered human." -damnthatsux

The 9/11 generation's bogeyman is gone

Why did American college students celebrate Osama bin Laden’s death so exuberantly? Experiencing 9/11 when young may have changed them in ways their grandparents would best understand, wrote Ann O'Neill. For both generations, she said, there were faces they could put to evil: Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler.

The story had many from both sides of the 9/11 generational divide sharing their experiences. jpr11011, who was 6 years old on 9/11, said, "I don't remember a world without terrorism. I don't remember flying without extensive security checks. I don't remember when we didn't have troops in the Middle East. I was whooping and hollering when bin Laden was finally killed! We were all so excited at school."

choice0047 said, "Ha, grownups have no idea what young children went through on that day. In Maryland, our schools went on lockdown and we were sent home. Turning on the television before our parents got home and seeing everything happen while alone was traumatizing. After that I never wanted to be on a plane again. As 8-, 9- or 10-year-olds we didn't understand what was going on. I worried about my dad working a block away from the White House and wondered what other buildings would be struck."

itsmejanet, a 22-year-old college student at the University of Arizona, said she was an eighth-grader living in Westchester County, New York, when 9/11 occurred. "I am studying psychology and think about 9/11 quite often. Your piece made me cry. When I found out Osama had been killed, I sat in my room and wondered, what will the terrorists do to us now? Will they attack our college campuses? I am scared. When I fly, I scan everyone on the plane, even babies, wondering who is the air marshall, who is a terrorist. All thanks to our real life boogeyman."

snowguy716 said he was a junior in high school on 9/11. "While most of my childhood memories were from the seemingly carefree days of the 1990s, 9/11 had a distinct impact on who I am. I went through stages of being ultra-patriotic, supporting the president, to being disillusioned. This is a game changer. This action has restored a bit of faith in my country, in our military, and in humanity. I hope it lasts."

But spectat0r, who was an elementary-school student during 9/11, said the article was "out of touch and shallow."

"As a youth who grew up in the midst of 9/11, I didn't go to bed at night scared because bin Laden was going to fly a 747 into my house," spectator continued. "They are only terrorists if they actually terrorize you. Shut up. Move on." ljustman agreed. "I was able to come to terms with the threat of terrorism as a seventh grader. I realized I was far more likely to die in a car crash than terrorist attack."

Those from earlier generations also had their say. Dorothea7 said, "We thought things would get back to 'normal' after WWII. We worked at normalcy, worked hard at it. But the world had changed forever, and it keeps changing. One monster is dead, but there are plenty of monsters around and more yet to come. And that is how it is: the trick is to keep it all from driving you crazy."

megaphone recalled life in the fourth grade during the Cold War: "We were still doing duck-and-cover drills and living around public fallout shelters, I was scared to death of a Soviet nuclear attack. I had no perspective and believed a bomb was coming our way at any time. Kids do not have the same perspective as adults do. Scared? I was scared too." odonna agreed, "Why is this generation so 'scarred' by this? Many of us grew up with the thought the Russians were coming after us. We were always threatened by that situation."

ganapper said, "I don't ever remember feeling all that 'safe.' I remember we had the Oklahoma City bombing, school shootings, the first attempt on the World Trade Center. 9/11 was a shocking day but let's not pretend we were safe before then."

But euphioTGank remembered the U.S. before 9/11 "as the land of milk and honey."

"People had the freedom to move about without government interference, you didn't need a passport to visit Mexico or Canada and the jobs - there were jobs and opportunities everywhere," euphioTGank continued. "Gas was cheap and the living was easy."

As for those celebrations? To ight247, who suggested that college students were merely "celebrating an opportunity to get wasted" mmsulli replied, "Sunday night was the eve of finals here at ISU, so actually, 99.99% of us were nowhere near wasted; we were studying. 9/11 was the day I was introduced to the true horror and evil of this world. Until then, I had no idea there was a man in this world that truly wanted to kill thousands of innocent people. Everything literally changed in 2 minutes flat. This has haunted our generation for 10 years. So yes, this did mean a lot. We were celebrating something that held us in the grip of fear for 10 years. It meant the end of the first true evil we had ever known. I also celebrated for my friend in the military in Afghanistan, hoping that maybe this would mean he could come home."

jmorales20, who was in high school during 9/11, said, "I find it hard to condemn celebrations of bin Laden's death. We can reasonably believe that there would have been just as much celebration if he had been captured. The symbolism of the moment matters more to us than the death, a far cry, I note from what we've seen in some Islamic nations."

evdogg415 said, "I was only 11 when the towers came down. I never thought I'd see the day Osama was killed. It feels great." asianobserve said, "It was a feeling of redemption more than any other feeling."

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. someoneelse

    This is crap. Who cares if someone grew up in the time of 9/11? Seriously, it barely affected their lives except air travel. Two wars which didn't really have to be started that are barely wars. There's no plague, real war, massive depression (our recession is bad enough, but no one is starving), etc. What a crock? Grow a set.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • li

      That isnt exactly true for all of us. I recall i was in 8th grade, the campus TVs all turned on. I was the ONLY student in a small town outside of Detroit that had a parent in the military. It took a few days to understand what was going to become normal life for me after that point but it wasn't the new norm i had expect growing up. That first year my father had to go out west to do some military stuff, he got home xmas morning about 4am but really wasn't not sure if he would be home in time. Then he started going down south, for months at a time, not what i expected between when i was 13 to 16 my father wasn't around not because he and my mother split nope because of this (WAR), he would head off to DC for a week or 2 at a time here and there. Finally they figure he was down south enough to move us. So we packed up and moved between 10 and 11 grade for me, *BY THE WAY not the best time to come into a school being shy*. I've learned to live with the life I've been giving, but it has changed because of 9/11. I figured I would be a student at UofM but now I'm just living out side of ATL. oh also dont give me the crap military kids move alot *that was my first move* he wasn't a full time military man, you know that 1 weekend a month 2 weeks a year crap, ya its not always like that

      May 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • inside job

      911 WAS AN INSIDE JOB. FORMER MILITARY TRUST ME 911 WAS AN INSIDE JOB AND THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO KNOW THE TRUTH AS PAINFUL AS IT MAY BE WATCH LOOSE CHANGE AND MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS!!!!!!! WHY DO YOU THINK BUSH REFUSED TO GO BECAUSE HE DID KNOW ABOUT 911 IN ADVANCE MAYBE NOT TO THE EXTENT BUT KNEW SOMETHING WHY BUT DID NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH OSAMA'S CAPTURE WE NEED TO HOLD THOSE RESONSIBLE. RUMSFIELD THE LEASER OF THE WTC ALL OF THEM ITS BS THEY DID THIS TO SUCH A GREAT COUNTRY FOR POLITICAL GAIN.

      May 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • inside job

      why did tower 7 fall? Why were there explosions heard after both planes hit from underneath and above but below where the damge was? Why was the military practicing how to handle planes hitting buildings THAT morning? Why were there PUT OPTIONS PLACED on stock of the airliners? Why were firefighers heard saying there are bombs going off? Why becuase of the patriot act and we needed a reason to go overseas. It states that countries will use major events to help get people on their side in paticular ways. What happend we were a nation of together we were together after 911 exactly as BUSH planned it> Why was Bush's brother not there? Why were bomb sniffing dogs removed? why did the FBI confiscate video of a plane hitting the pentagon? why did agents show up at a woman who was injured bedside and say you didn't see what you saw you saw a plane hit the building> How does plane come up missing when it hits an empty field? Why were the beams not checked for thermate? The truth will come out NO MATTER WHAT THIS WAS AN INSIDE JOB AND OUR COUNTRY DESERVES BETTER AND MORE AND I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL EVERYONE KNOWS THE TRUTH!! WATCH LOOSE CHANGE!!!!!!

      May 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • You dont get it

      You're an ass, over 10,000 children lost their parents due to 9/11 and the wars in the middle east. You probably weren't effected because you aren't patriotic enough to care about doing something for your country. I was just a little kid in Arlington and let me tell you when a plane slams into a government building 10 miles from your house it changes your life. when your friends father dies in a fiery inferno it bothers you. when every adult has to become an absent parent to work 10/11 hour days at the cia, fbi, nsa, pentagon, quantico, or any other place IT FREAKIN CHANGES HOW YOU LIVE. it didn't effect you because you chose not to let it.

      May 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RUFFNUTT

    It is quite dubious that Al Qaeda could have pulled off 9/11 by themselves. They most likely had some outside help,but from whom? My money's on the C.I.A. with their virtually unlimited resources. What is known is that 9/11 was a gigantic boon to the Bush administration providing the perfect pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan and the passage of the Patriot Act.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nur amabo nur

    I'm with on that RUFF. The then and now is we had freedom then we have "security" now.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    How stupid. One moron posing as RuffNutt and nur amabo; and having a conversation by himself. Dude, truly, you are real stupid and pathetic.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. QS

    "They are only terrorists if they actually terrorize you."

    "I was able to come to terms with the threat of terrorism as a seventh grader. I realized I was far more likely to die in a car crash than a terrorist attack."

    These two statements should sum it up nicely. I posit that those who felt the most traumatized, or were terrified that they'd be killed in a terrorist attack at any moment, let fear get the better of them...which far too many adults let happen as well.

    Having said that, I hypothesize that those who felt the most scared were probably surrounded by those types of adults who did nothing to actually ease the fears of their children or talk to them about it, but instead were so scared themselves that their kids picked up on it and, to a kid, if it seems your parents are truly scared about something that fear tends to be amplified in children.

    All of the media involved probably did nothing to assuage the fears of children either; especially when every other time Bush popped up on TV he was either declaring wars were ordained by god or talking about how they raised the terror alert level....again.

    Then again, some people are obviously just prone to irrational thoughts and fears. If those thoughts and fears are not kept in check and are allowed to grow, they often times end up consuming the person.

    That is what I sense in the comments from those who were the most afraid...that they were so consumed by fear that they couldn't overcome it, thus allowing that fear to play a larger role than it should have in shaping their lives as young adults.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    Actually, looking back at what Ruff said, I have to agree with him. Disregard my earlier post.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Micah

    Al Qaeda terrorized us for a day, now we've terrorized a nation for over a decade. I think now that we've "got the bad guy" we can move on, pull out, and start apologizing.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nur amabo nur

    Looks like I'm banned... Truth hurts ?

    May 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nur amabo nur

    Your a mean one mr moderator.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RTL

    I bet none of you are from the northeast. Unless you lived in NYC, you have no idea what it was like. I'm not saying I don't leave my house because I'm scared of an attack but I definitely think about the possibility of an attack when on a plane, subway, or at a large public gathering such as rockefeller center during christmas time. That's what 9/11 did.

    May 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    My mother turns tricks for crack and I like spending time on my knees in the gay bar.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thebluechipmunk

    I agree with Micah. It's time to move on from this. We, as a nation, should stop focusing on what happened in the past and start focusing on what is happening in the present. What happened then was a horrible tragedy in our nations history and now American forces have killed Osama. It's time to keep 9/11 as an event that took place, who's families affected by it we are praying for, and an event that we as a nation (because we have faced it and know how horrible it felt to have our country feel so terrorized) should promise to never ever cause to another nation. Maybe, if we all just learned from the mistakes of others....as well as our own mistakes, we could be an even better country. It's what history is for, to learn from everyone's mistakes.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • inside job

      NO WE SHOULD NOT BECUASE THE TRUTH HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED AND THOSE LITERALLY RESPONSIBLE HAVE NOT BEEN BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. THIS WAS AN INSIDE JOB AND AS LONG AS IT IS STILL NOT ACCEPTED I WILL KEEP FIGHTING FOR THOSE WHO DIED THIS WAS AN INSIDE JOB AN INSIDE JOB AN INSIDE JOB WE SHOULD NOT MOVE ON UNTIL EVERY QUESTION IS ANSWERD AND I WILL NOT LET ANYBODY MOVE ON I WILL KEEP POSTING UNTIL THE REAL TRUTH COMES OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! INSIDE JOB INSIDE JOB INSIDE JOB!!!!!!! IN THE COURT OF LAW ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW ITS WHAT YOU CAN PROVE WELL TAKE ALL THE EVIDENCE AND THE HIDING OF EVIDENCE BY THE FBI CIA AND AGENTS AND WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FREAKIN COFFEE! WHY DID LISA RICE OR WHATEVER CALL MAYORS AND SAY DO NOT FLY TODAY?> WHY WAS THE PENTAGON JUST REBUILT ON THAT SIDE? THERES SO MANY QUESTIONS THAT OUR FAMILIES DO NOT KNOW ITS JUST NOT FAIR THIS WAS AN INSIDE JOB DO NOT EVER STOP THINKING OTHERWISE!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      Thank you inside job for stating what I know,but unfortnately most other people are too stupid to realize it. They want to cling to the fairy tale that the evil oursider(Al Qaeda) did it.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. nur amabo nur

    There is an excellent article posted today at natural news .com its called "the gullible mind explained". Take a look and share with anyone you hope to awaken. Its much less dramatic than blurting out "9/11 was an inside job".

    May 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shorn

    I'm soooo tired of hearing how everyone was affected by 9/11. O dear me, I'm so traumatized. Whatever. If you knew someone killed that day or had a family member in the military ('cuz we knew our response under Bush-wad would be a military one), I can understand it. But a decade later? Stop whining and get on with your lives. It was a terrible, terrible day. It led to all sorts of awful, wasteful things, like a pointless war in Iraq. If you want to live in fear the rest of your lives, go ahead. It won't earn you any respect, but you'll have plenty of weak, pathetic company.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nur amabo nur

    @inside job – I understand your frustration, the masses here refuse to wake up. By posting all caps you just look like a nut job.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • inside job

      Trust me I am no nut job I am just so furious that people do not know the real truth!!!! 2 days ago I would have thought just like anybody. That Alqueda ya da ya da was responsible. After seeing proof that it was not that way I now must go out and tell the entire country. I do not care if it is one person at a time!!!!! This was an inside job. That is all there is to it WATCH LOOSE CHANGE PEOPLE WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!

      May 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
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