How 9/11 weighs heavy on the generation born after the 2001 attacks

PBS NewsHour's Student Reporting Labs network of high school journalism programs across the country gathered the reflections of teenagers to explore the legacy of 9/11 on their generation. They present the voices of young Americans who were born after Sept. 11, 2001, and reveal how their lives were shaped by it.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Finally tonight, the voices of young Americans who were born after September the 11th.

    Our Student Reporting Labs network of high school journalism programs across the country gathered the reflections of teenagers to explore the legacy of 9/11 on their generation.

  • Jeremiah Sudarmanto, Student:

    I probably first learned about 9/11 in elementary school really early on. And, of course, as a little kid, you don't really understand.

  • Delilah Brumer, Student:

    Being one of the first generations born after 9/11 feels really confusing. Like, I have never been around before this constant fear of terrorism.

  • Juan Carlos Chaoui, Student:

    After hearing what happened, I was terrified of tall buildings. I was terrified of elevators. I was terrified of planes.

  • Necorra Harris, Student:

    It's very heavy on our generation, because so many older generations expect us to know everything, while we're still trying to learn and process.

  • Kat Gonzalez, Student:

    These attacks have affected my family directly. They are excited to come to this country. They have heard really great things about it. And then, as they're excited to start their new life, it like snapped them back to reality that not every place is super safe to live in.

  • Yara Ahmed, Student:

    My dad considered changing my last name from Ahmed to something more white-passing. My mom was afraid to put on the hijab for multiple years after that, because she was afraid of being discriminated against or hate crimes.

  • Delilah Brumer:

    I have always inherited this idea that everyone in the Middle East is a terrorist or something, which just isn't true.

  • Elaine Hudgins, Student:

    I also feel like it brought America together, and patriotism was at an all-time high.

  • Jose Martinez-McIntosh, Student:

    People just like myself, who are applying to colleges and needed financial aid or simply just wanted to get out of their hometowns or find a better future for themselves, wound up in the military, where they were sent to war in Afghanistan. And, honestly, it was a great tragedy on my generation.

  • Emma Hagood, Student:

    I wish that, in addition to simply being cautious and being fearful, we — there was a legacy of hope, in that within the wake of 9/11 and within those tragic events, there were some really beautiful moments of humanity, where people came together to help others.

    And I wish that that was a legacy that was remembered just as much as this legacy of fear is.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Such a burden on each one of them. And we thank each one of them for sharing.

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