As with the rest of the country, and quite possibly the world, I find myself reflecting on the events that happened ten years ago on 9/11. That date and that year in particular changed a lot of people’s lives in dramatic ways and also changed our country. We became much more aware of our vulnerabilities and our impact – both positive and negative – on the world stage. We began to question what, exactly, does freedom and democracy mean? What is the USA’s role in world affairs? And, we as citizens gained much more insight and transparency into the affairs of our government.
For me, personally, September 2001 changed my life. Not only did I live outside of Washington DC and witness what the attacks did to that area, but my brother had just moved to New York City one week before the World Trade Center was hit. It took half a day just to reach him to find out that he was ok.
In September 2001, I also met the man who would become my future husband. In the past ten years I have become a wife and a mother to two beautiful children. As the anniversary of 9/11 draws near, I find myself thinking about how the world was when I was growing up and how the world will be as my children grow. During my life, I witnessed the creation of the space shuttle, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. I witnessed the U.S. become a major player on the world stage. To me, the country seemed invincible and full of ambition, achievement and promise.
But things have changed now and I’m wondering what the future holds for our country and what legacy I’ll be handing off to my children. Change can be good – it can bring new ideas, new directions and improvements. But, change is also unsettling for a lot of people because of it’s uncertainty.
As an advocate, I try to create awareness of the importance of investing in children so that they can thrive and succeed. But personally, because I hope to give my children those opportunities, I also want to instill in them a sense of personal and global responsibility. I want to make sure that they understand that it’s not enough just to be successful, but that we need to share with others who are less fortunate. We need to give back to our community so that others may have opportunities. And, most importantly, that respect for our fellow human beings is paramount to our success as a society.
I truly hope that all of the conflicts and global strife that my generation is seeing is creating a sense in our young people that we, as a country, are not one, but that we are all. We are not just Hoosiers or Americans, we are global citizens. I hope that the next generation will understand that with freedom and democracy also come respect and responsibility. Freedom is not just for one group or ideology, but freedom for all. Democracy is not just the right to vote, but also about being an informed citizen.
I look forward to seeing what the next decade holds and I will continue to try to do my part to ensure that the upcoming generations are equipped to take over where we leave off. I