Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growing up in the Shadow of 9/11

Growing up in the shadow of 9/11 is a fascinating project from American University that was completed last week - before the assassination of Osama bin Laden. It is a site you should visit.

Perhaps no other segment of society has been as well covered as the student celebrations over the news. In part because they were awake and ready to respond to the announcement, but more importantly, 9/11 was an event that defined a whole generation.

While the depiction of jubilant flash mobs has been covered in pictures, the real story is that these young people were deeply influenced by the path laid out by President Bush. That the world was divided into good and evil. That there were choices to be made. You were either with us or against us.

A dangerous simplistic way to understand complex conflicts. It would also be dangerous and simplistic to say a particular segment acted in one way. The video project makes that clear and we will revisit that issue soon.

The Pictures

In Washington, college students spilled in front of the White House chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” and puffing cigars. In State College, Pa., 5,000 students waved flags, blew vuvuzelas, and sang the national anthem and the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Cheering students jumped into Mirror Lake at Ohio State — as they do with big football games — and swelled the Common in Boston.

"We are the 9/11 generation," "We've grown up with Osama bin Laden in our lives, the same way the previous generation grew up with Vietnam over their heads.

"Now he's gone; it's shocking. To many, it meant that the war on terrorism is over, but as the days go on, more people are starting to ask, 'Where do we go from here?'"

Madeline Novey, editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University.

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