Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's a different world now

I remember life before 9/11.  Clearly.  It was an easier life.  My kids were born 4 months before September 11, 2001.  Their life is so different than the one I imagined for them.  Living in the metro DC area, the changes are all around us.  Here's my take on things:

Pre 9/11
Post 9/11
There was little security at federal buildings.  This meant I could take my mom to NIH to walk around, go into any Smithsonian museum at any open hour and that the federal agencies were pretty much like any other building.

There are huge fences up around many federal agencies.  You can’t just walk around the open suburban ones any more.  You go through metal detectors at every Smithsonian museum – which often means waiting in line.
I didn’t need to arrive at jobs a half hour early.  15 mins was plenty of time to get to where I was going.

I must have an escort at most of the places I work in.  This is a massive hassle, though one that has become normal
There were no “report suspicious activity” signs on the metro, above the beltway or at large public events.
This makes me nuts, especially when I see it on the beltway.  It makes my blood pressure go up.  How can I drive and look at suspicious activity?  Everyone here drives nuts……

We weren’t at war.
We have been in one war or another for the entire time my kids have lived on this earth.

Hatred wasn’t a part of my daily experience.
My kids are growing up knowing that hatred between religious groups, ethnic groups, countries is prevalent.  I knew they’d learn it eventually but I was hoping they’d make it out of elementary school first.  They didn’t.

I never thought about emergency supplies or an escape plan.

We do now.
Terrorism wasn’t part of my daily life.
It is now.

I have been reminded that during my lifetime, we have always had terrorism.  Planes were hijacked.  Bombs happened.  But I don't remember those days as vividly as I do 9/11.  They just feel different.  But they aren't really.  


  1. Thinking about your kids... I remember having a friend in Girl Scouts. I only noticed her name was not a regular name and her skin was a bit "tanner" than mine. I don't think it was until I was an ADULT that I realized she was India Indian. Had no clue. She was just my friend. There are a few more instances where I became aware of differences in people only as an adult. I realize now how hard my mother worked and how different society was that I only saw people as people. I didn't know that they were any different than I was. I wish things were still that way. Because inside, aren't we all the same to start?

  2. My kids went to a very diverse daycare. They had no understanding of why they weren't "brown". I love living in such a diverse area - they hear all different languages and participate in events in different cultures. They didn't learn about racism/hatred until they were in elementary school. The whole thing makes me sad. One of their bffs is muslim - that's been a whole other experience (good). I guess this comes under the category of live and learn.