Up from the ashes

By Alex Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, smoke rose from the gaping chasm in the New York City sky­line. For a long time after, the images and memories of Sept. 11 left a gash in the psyche of anyone old enough to understand the tragedy. That day’s indelible imprint — one that has shaped so much in the decade since — left perhaps the most strik­ing effects on those of us who came of age in an era of terrorism, fear, para­noia and war.

We learned of the at­tacks in elementary school classrooms and watched our teachers try to be reassuring as they struggled to piece togeth­er what had happened. When we saw the news reports and witnessed the images of devasta­tion, a grim new reality confronted us. Suddenly, a “day of infamy” was not just something from the history books.

We watched as our country rode a tide of pa­triotic fervor, vowing jus­tice on the terrorists. Just a few years later, we saw it fragmented — polarized by a divisive war. We be­came aware of things like anthrax, air marshals and al-Qaeda. It may be melo­dramatic to say 9/11 stole the innocence of a genera­tion, but at the very least it rocked the conscious­ness of an impression­able age group.

The tragedy is indisput­ably the seminal moment of the young century, and the world is forever altered by the events of that day. For most of us, 9/11 marks roughly the midpoint of our lives. As the 10th anniversary ap­proaches, its effects can be seen in nearly every major event that has transpired since.

For most of us, though, the personal impact of 9/11 is minimal. In the next few years, many of us who were school children in 2001 will be entering the workforce , and the only drama surrounding our addition to the working ranks will come from the crummy economy. Per­haps that will be our leg­acy. As children, we faced the harsh reality of a na­tional tragedy. We were scarred, without a doubt. But just as our nation ral­lied, refusing to let our way of life be changed, our path to adulthood has been little different than so many before us.

It may be odd to say a return to normal can be a legacy, but that may be the case. Our coun­try, shell-shocked and stunned that day, has re­covered and moved on. Likewise, its most fragile, impressionable citizens a decade ago are now poised, like every preced­ing generation, to take a place among its leaders.

President Bush ad­dressed the nation the evening after the attacks, and his words hold true today: “Terrorist attacks can shake the founda­tions of our biggest build­ings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.”

Our generation will have a chance to prove him right.

About Cardinal & Cream 1009 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.