This Sunday will mark the tenth anniversary of a defining moment in many Tech students’ childhoods: the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This weekend, people across the country will reflect on those who were lost that day and what this event has meant for their lives.
For college-age Americans, this will have an even more poignant meaning, as the attacks on 9/11 created the lens through which they viewed the world they grew up in. Their grandparents fought against Nazi fascism, their parents prepared for when the Red Menace of Soviet communism would strike and their generation has fought to prevent militants from recreating an attack on innocent men and women.
What’s important to note is that while college-age Americans can still recall the emotional effect of the attacks—note that each student on the right hand page remembered where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the attacks—the threat of terrorism is no longer the driving issue of global politics. As with Pearl Harbor, emotions still run strong for those who survived, and the event has undeniably shaped the world afterward, but the effects of the event itself on politics diminish over time. This is as it should be. With the death of Osama bin Laden, students should focus on growing from the children of 9/11 into the adults who will shape the post-9/11 world.
Tech students are uniquely equipped to face this challenge. They have been trained in technology and should look at how to use technology to show the stranger across the globe as an actual person instead of just a sensationalist new story. Ways of using technology to fight those things which fuel terrorism—poverty, hunger and poor education—should be explored. As students enter the workforce, they should keep in mind that they will be the ones guiding the future of technology and do their best to guide that future to one where people are well fed, educated and connected to their fellow man.
Front page photo courtesy Barry Yanowitz, some rights reserved.