WASHINGTON, September 11, 2011-About 700 children lost their parents during the September 11, 2001 attacks and among that group were dozens of children born after the attacks occurred.
In the coming months, those children will turn 10-years old and sadly, for all of them, their only memories they have of their dads are the stories their moms and other relatives have relayed to them, photographs and articles of clothing and other memorabilia and keepsakes they’ve seen.
Gabriel Jacobs was born six days after the attack. Gabriel’s dad, Arial Jacobs, perished as the World Trade Center fell.
Gabriel was probably told at an early age the circumstance of his dad’s death and in essence, unlike other kids who may have heard of the tragic events but are still quite a bit removed from it, Gabriel was born part of the September 11 legacy. Children like Gabriel, children with that intimate connection, lost a bit of their innocence early on.
But in some way, all of America lost its innocence on that day ten years ago.
Before 9/11, America was a nation that welcomed all, and was more or less a land of the free, in its truest sense. We came and went as we pleased, for the most part, virtually unchecked and unmonitored. Since then, the country has had to grow up pretty fast, put up some guards and barriers to protect its citizens and inhabitants, ushering a brand new era of terror.
Over the last ten years, legions of children have been born into a generation that includes periodic terror watches. They have only lived in a country where you had to remove your shoes to get on the plane and where a random unaccounted for bag left on a park bench could mean total evacuation of an entire federal building. They know no other way. They have only heard of the less uninhibited America from the pre-9/11 era.
Before, parents only had to warn children about the dangers of looking both ways before crossing the street, of not talking to strangers and of staying within close proximity of mom and dad. Now, parents have to add the warning to be vigilant and suspicious of random people who may “look” like they are up to no good.
The war on terror rages on and certainly the killing of the 9/11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden, gives America several chit marks in its column in this ongoing battle. There are no signs that the battle is over and it appears that most likely all of the post 9/11 children may live their entire lives under the thumb of constant fear of when the next strike will happen.
As we commemorate and celebrate the lives of those nearly 3,000 victims who died in that attack, we can at least take comfort in knowing that many Americans recognize them as unwilling soldiers in a war that we hope to some day win.
Hopefully, as the heirs of the 9/11 casualties grow older, they will each day continue to get constant reassurance that the country, and nation as a whole, is vigilante and committed to ensuring that the dad Gabriel Jacobs never knew did not die in vain and that the war on terror will eventually be won in our favor.
Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at Jeneba Speaks.
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