The terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 were a shocking moment that shaped the world we live in today. 9/11 occurred 22 years ago today, which means the Class of 2024 college Seniors is the last class to have possibly been born during the time period the event occurred.
Like myself, almost all current college students were not alive during the September attacks. I only know what the world is like in a post-9/11 way. The events that occurred that day have been termed a “generation defining event”, but my generation wasn’t alive to understand how severe the repercussions were.
There have been several generational defining events that myself and my fellow college classmates have lived through, one very major example being the COVID-19 Pandemic. COVID-19 has completely changed the world and the ways we live in it. The post-pandemic world is growing within the post-9/11 world. The way that 9/11 changed how airports operate and the constant surveillance of airplanes parallels how COVID-19 changed how doctors offices and hospitals operate. While both are categorized by different events and possible outcomes, it is possible to draw parallels between the two in some ways. These parallels should not in any way minimize their impacts, but rather create a shared platform for different lived experiences that have impacted various generations.
For the older generations, they notice all the details of how 9/11 changed the world. But myself and my generation notice the details of how COVID-19 and mass shootings in schools are impacting society today. In the wake of the shooting at UNC that took place on August 29, my generation is fighting against guns in our schools, not terrorists in our airplanes.
9/11 changed the world, but I don’t know what the world was like before. I do, however, know what the world was like before COVID-19 caused over a million deaths and school shootings happened on a monthly basis.
There is also another strong parallel between 9/11 and COVID-19, in which racism increased during the time immediately following the event. The September terrorist attacks increased war against the Middle East and made living in America as a brown person or Muslim very dangerous. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Asian people, and in particular Chinese people were targeted due to the bias of the origin of the Pandemic. Having the POTUS at the time spewing what many categorize as racist and xenophobic ideology against Asian Americans also heightened the tensions between citizens of varying backgrounds.
I do not know what the world was like pre- 9/11, but I can compare the events of the time to COVID-19. I would consider both to be generational defining tragic events. Both have changed the world in many ways, but I also think the recent Pandemic has affected me and my generation in a different way than 9/11 has impacted other generations.
By: Kailey Wurr, Contributing Writer
Graphic by: Shae-Lynn Henderson, EIC