Jeff’s thoughts about 9/11

I’m going to turn over my blog to Jeff for his thoughts about 9/11.

I was very conflicted about whether to write about 9/11. When I was debating whether or not to [continue my] blog, one of the considerations was that I’d be writing today. It came down to whether I had anything about 9/11 that I wanted to tell people. I did.

I didn’t lose any friends or family members that day. I don’t know anyone who was near Ground Zero. I didn’t sing God Bless America on the steps of Capital Hill. Yet, the Attacks did change much of my outlook on the world. Before, I didn’t care much about the rest of the globe, outside of Israel. And why should I? I was only 11. My largest priority was surviving my first month of Middle School.

Somehow though, 9/11 changed that forever. Suddenly for me and perhaps the whole country in general, what mattered in the middle of Asia meant a great deal. The entire world slowly became important to me, whether each country had anything to do with 9/11 or not. I don’t know why: perhaps when I suddenly realized that I was interested in Afghanistan, I became interested in Italy. And here I am today, naming the capitals of countries many people know nothing about.

I suppose this led to my interest in American politics too. Oh, it didn’t exactly spring from nowhere. Even at the age of six I had hoped Clinton would be reelected; when I was ten on Election Day a few of my friends and I screamed “Bush sucks!” on the playground, only to be answered with “Gore sucks!” But after 9/11, I actually knew why I thought this way, aside from my parents thinking that.

One more way the 9/11 Attacks changed my outlook: my determination not to stereotype ethnicities. When we invaded Afghanistan, I decided that I would not judge Afghans based on the actions of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. I don’t know what brought this on, but it carried over to Arabs and Muslims in general. I guess I have to thank my history teachers in 6th and 7th grades for making clear the difference between the terrorists and all the other Muslims and Arabs. Perhaps I should even thank President Bush: he made it clear in a speech nine days after 9/11 that most Afghans and Muslims were just regular people, not murderers or people who wanted us wiped off the globe.

Whatever the case, 9/11 affected me. The impact it had on me can’t be compared to that on the people who lost loved ones, but still, it affected me. For better or worse, much of who I am today is because of 9/11 and what happened afterwards, globally and personally.