Remembering 9/11 through the generations

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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(KSLA) - Each year, the national anthem bounces through the air and the American flag proudly waves through the wind. It’s all in an effort to make sure people never forget the tragedy that struck the country on Sept. 11, 2001.

However, for younger generations too young to remember, or even those not born at that time, they learn of the events secondhand.

“Over the past few years, it’s been increasingly obvious that there is a line that’s dividing generations,” history teacher Paula Rowe said. “I told the kids last year, it’s the line between memory and history. The kids that are sitting in the classroom today, for them, it will always be history. They’re born in the years that followed and they learn about it like the other events that we study. But for the teachers in the building and their family, this is memory.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the oldest Gen Z babies were born in 1996, making them only five years old at the time.

Generations Defined graphic
Generations Defined graphic(The Pew Research Center)

The center also reports about 93% of those 30 and older say they remember exactly where they were on Sept. 11, 2001, compared to the 42% people who are 25.

Pew Remembrance graphic
Pew Remembrance graphic(The Pew Research Center)

“Not being alive, you gotta rely on other people to tell you. You weren’t there so you don’t get your own opinion on how things went down,” said Jonathan Plaza.

Hannah Rains was born six days after 9/11. Her mother tells her she was terrified.

“She was in the hospital when 9/11 happened. Going through all that, she was scared because she didn’t know what was happening. I can’t imagine people’s fears that were in the hospital and in the building, too,” Rains explained.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary, art teacher Margaret Cox organized an art display in Byrd High School.

“The school had done this whole demonstration Sept. 15, 2001. Once I saw that and saw that it was Art Club that did this, I said, ‘We’ve got to recreate that this year, because it’s going to be the 20th anniversary,’” she said.

The following interviews are people recounting their experiences from Sept. 11, 2001.

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