By Ellen Wein, Thursday, August 11, 2011, at 12:30 pm.
It might be early August, but a part of me is already fixated on one month from today: 9/11. My head tells me it’s an important milestone, but my heart is telling me I must somehow rise to the occasion and make Sept. 11 this year something more. It’s hard not to think what a difference a decade makes.
A recent Time/Aspen Ideas Festival poll found that more than two-thirds of Americans see the past decade as a period of decline for the U.S. As the poll findings reveal, the country is going through one of its longest sustained periods of unhappiness and pessimism.
Wow. That’s most of my daughters’ lives! In our little cocoon of a nuclear family, there has been much happiness along with a healthy dose of pessimism—at least until we think outside the cocoon.
Things certainly were simpler on 9/11/01. Maternal instincts and my prerogative as a mom compelled me to be the protector and switch the TV channel from news coverage to anything else until after my girls went to bed. I had control and could let gentle conversations frame age-appropriate understanding of what was going on in the world. I was the filter and offered abundant assurance to my daughters that they were safe—both physically and emotionally. I kept the more ominous thoughts to myself.
If the poll is right, are the progeny of boomers like me going to go down as the Generation of Great Decline? Federal budgets gone awry, terrorist cells, the credit crisis and even global warming certainly make it seem so. I wonder whether it’s comforting or terrifying to know that my daughters will be voting in the next presidential election. Will they vote because they’re engaged—or enraged—at the world as they know it?
I’m keenly aware that 9/11/11 marks my final official chapter of child raising, as my youngest enters her senior year in high school this fall. There’s no turning off the TV (let alone Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) this time. Shanksville is about 90 minutes from our house; do we head over there and commemorate events in a very public way? Do we look for comfort in a yet-to-be-announced public event closer to home? Do we immerse ourselves in the virtual world of commemorations around the globe such as the planned scaled reproduction of the Twin Towers in Paris? (Full disclosure: The group behind that project is a client of ERWW PR’s.) Or do we show our resolve and do something completely life-affirming in real time—something we love to do, something that those whose lives were taken too early cannot.
And then I have a realization. This time around on 9/11, my vote is only one of three in the family. Blessedly, and despite the pollsters, I have all the confidence in the world that the members of the Generation of Great Decline in my home will rise to the occasion magnificently and suggest just the right thing to do. Everything between 9/11/01 and 9/11/11 has taught them so.
Photo credit: Flickr/ by Sister72
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 12:30 pm. It is filed under B2B, Features, Insights, Social Media, Youth and tagged with 9/11, Aspen Ideas Festival, engaged, enraged, Facebook, global warming, high school, Paris, pessimism, Sept. 11, September 11, Shanksville, terrorism, TFWNF, the economy, The French Will Never Forget, Time, TV, Twin Towers, Twitter, U.S., United States, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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