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Front Page » September 10, 2002 » Opinion » Younger Americans will remember this
Published 4,344 days ago

Younger Americans will remember this


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter

It seems as if every American generation has experienced an incident which has changed their views of the world. For many, wars such as World War II and Vietnam changed the way citizens viewed their nation.

The cold war and the Cuban missile crisis also opened Americans eyes and allowed them to understand that foreign countries envy the U.S. because we live in a free world.

The most recent incident to occur and change Americans views of their country was the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. For myself, it was the first real national tragedy to occur within my life when I was old enough to understand the incidents ramifications.

At age 23, I have lived through many events such as the Gulf War and the Oklahoma City bombing. But as a child I did not fully understand the impact these events had on American citizens lives. Now I realize what an event of this magnitude can do to a country.

I am fortunate to be experiencing an event in which Americans have banded together and united as a strong country. Other generations have not been so fortunate.

I have heard the tales of how American citizens became divided during the Vietnam War. Some felt that the United States had the authority to step into the war, while others were strongly opposed to becoming involved.

With the war on terror which is currently underway, it seems as if most of America agree with the actions that have been taken.

Rather than citizens protesting against the current battle, they are rallying behind the governments decision to stop terrorists from attacking again. After all, the reason that the U.S. is fighting the war on terror is because of the horrific attacks that occurred on that clear September day.

As a young American citizen, it has really done my heart good to see a nation come together and unite like it hasn't for a very long time. Sure there are still drugs and violence in the streets of America, but one thing remains true throughout the nation; we are all Americans who are proud to live in the land of the free.

Growing up it seemed as if children never really understood the significance of standing each morning to salute the flag and state the pledge of allegiance. Today, children stand each morning knowing that the flag and what it stands for is special.

I remember walking through the halls of Carbon High only five years ago wearing a shirt which graced an American flag pattern. I received several comments, none of which were too positive. I was devastated and never wore the shirt again.

Today it is a different story. You can't walk out of your home without seeing a proud citizen wearing a shirt that displays a patriotic message or pattern. Too bad that my shirt no longer fits, maybe now I would receive positive comments.

People my age seldom talked about how fortunate they are to live in the United States. That has changed a lot in the past year however.

I generally cover sports therefore, I have stood at my fair share of sporting events which play the national anthem before the event begins. The past year I have seen athletes my age and even younger become teary-eyed and choked up during this portion of the event. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person in my generation that feels this way. But it's not only citizens my age that at one time seem to have neglected the fact as to how lucky they are to live in America. People of all ages, religions and nationalities tended to not display their patriotism on their sleeve. This has also changed.

As the nation began to change soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, I found that no matter our differences, everyone was the same; they were all proud Americans.

The week after the attacks, President Bush called for a national day of prayer. Because it seemed as if few Carbon County residents planned to participate in this event, I organized a service of my own. With the help of my aunt and my friend Jennifer, we put together a service and invited parishioners from our church and posted fliers for local citizens to attend. To my amazement, we had nearly 30 people come to the event.

Most of the people who attended I have never met before. It was amazing to see complete strangers unite to share their feelings of the terrorist attacks and to pray for a quick resolve. It was even more amazing that these strangers came up to me one at a time and thank me for the chance to attend a local prayer service and as they did so, most shed a few tears.

Even though most Americans have little or no direct ties to victims of the attacks, we all have suffered deeply and in a sense have become victims ourselves.

As a young American, I feel fortunate to have lived through the events last September. If anything good has came out of these attacks, it is the unity that this country has displayed ever since.

Now that I am old enough to understand the events which occur in our country, I will never forget it. I think that very few Americans ever will.


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