But to our younger millennial counterparts, who were in grade school or just learning to walk, 9/11 is a subject from the history books: Those entering high school this year weren’t even born on 9/11; those entering college today were just turning 1.
Taylor, who turned 7 shortly after 9/11, tells me, “I genuinely feel like we’ve always been at war.” She says that the Ariana Grande concert attack last May in Manchester was “somewhere that I could so easily see myself and my friends being, so it was relatable. When I was younger, as awful as 9/11 was, I couldn’t fully understand that people could just want to cause pain like that.” But “when you see people getting hurt, you’re like, ‘This is why we’re at war, this is why people are fighting.’” Then “you kind of understand why there is a war on terror.”
Older millennials, on the other hand, remember life before 9/11. We remember being thrust into the global War on Terror overnight. We remember why we went to war; the fear of when, not if, the next big attack would hit; and exactly why some of our classmates enlisted in the armed forces right after high school.