Most of us current undergraduates were between the ages of eight and twelve on September 11, 2001. We were too young to understand—maybe that’s why the tenth anniversary meant so little to us.
I was up early Sunday morning working on an assignment for my documentary filmmaking course. I crossed campus several times, looking for good shots, running into many people I knew as the day progressed. I went to an Argus meeting, and after that, a junior class party with music and pizza on the lawn between Lo-rise and Hi-rise. That evening, I worked in the Writing Workshop and wrote an essay about the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan. By the end of the day, I’d only heard one person mention 9/11—a student arguing that the real tragedy was the innocent lives lost to post-9/11 US foreign policy.
On Monday, a friend asked me whether the anniversary was “today or yesterday.”
A significant proportion of Wesleyan students come from the New York City area, which almost always means that they were either directly affected by the events of 9/11 or that they know someone who was. I don’t mean to speak for everyone, and I did not attend the prayer vigil. But the overwhelming attitude on campus seemed to hover between minor apathy and utter indifference.
I’m not writing this to criticize the student body. I do not necessarily think that anyone should have acted differently. The anniversary barely made a dent on my day at all, until I called home, just to say hello. I left the conversation tearful—my parents had been immersed in 9/11 coverage all day, and all it took was a few words with them to throw me into awful doldrums.
“My favorite thing in the world was driving over the bridge—that feeling of excitement when the skyline first came into view,” my mother said. “That’s when I felt like I was home.”
Her first time driving into Manhattan after the towers fell, she couldn’t stop crying. The skyline was dead.