Too young to understand, 'Generation 9/11' embraces media for meaning
Many Americans who were too young to understand the events of 9/11 at the time are now using the avalanche of media coverage gain a deeper understanding of that brutal day in history.
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“I didn’t understand that it was malicious,” Ms. Vidar says, noting that her interest has picked up in the past year after watching documentaries during last year’s 9/11 anniversary. “I’m so much more curious about it now, all the details and the way it has changed our daily life – everything from the way we act in airports to the wars our country is fighting.” Vidar says she plans to watch more coverage throughout the week.Skip to next paragraph
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Habursky says he plans to keep tabs on media coverage all week leading up to a candlelight vigil he and friends have organized with fellow students on the Washington & Jefferson campus, which is an hour away from Shanksville, Pa., where the fourth hijacked plane went down. Habursky has visited the Shanksville site several times and plans to tour the Pentagon in October.
For Habursky, the variety and depth of coverage of the 9/11 anniversary provides the kind of detail and perspective he and his friends desire. For instance, he points to a show about President Bush’s activities as the day unfolded. “He was in the only plane in the air [after the towers fell],” Habursky said. “They didn’t want his plane to land, and that’s just not something we knew about on the day.”
He points out that while he regards the massive amounts of media coverage as “largely a good thing,” it can sometimes go too far. But his generation is accustomed to a media barrage with important events, he says, and has learned to sort through varying perspectives. “We’re a pretty media-literate generation because that’s how we grew up,” he says, adding, “There’s a lot of crazy stuff on the air too, so you just have to pay attention and figure out whose biases are showing.”
For engaged students like Habursky, 9/11 provides a golden opportunity for learning, says Dana Janbek, a professor at Lasell College in Newton, Mass., and author of “Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post Al-Qaeda Generation.” “ 'Generation 9/11' is very interested and curious about what actually happened. This makes it an excellent opportunity to engage them in a broader discussion of terrorism and political relationships around the world.”
Indeed, Mr. Caruso from generationOn says his group is working with thousands of youths nationwide to turn their interest into action. “This is a generation that wants to have an impact,” he adds.
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