It has been 10 years since the attacks now known as 9/11.
Sept. 11, 2001, was an event that drastically changed all of our lives. It escalated the war that we are still fighting this very day. It also changed our everyday lives in many ways, like the way we travel, watch the news and look at other cultures.
Few of us can get the images out of our heads and many of us avoid listening to the news about the event and the war. After 10 Septembers of distancing myself from 9/11, I was due for a reminder. I received this reminder when I took a tour of the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and saw exactly where the American Airlines flight crashed into the building. I was used to hearing things on the news, but standing exactly where the damage happened was a new experience entirely.
The tragedy of 9/11 changed many lives both negatively and positively. The Dalai Lama said, "Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."
Many people have felt a calling to volunteer and start organizations to help others. Sept. 11 has become a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Your service can be big or small and does not have to be directly related to the events or the wars.
Another one of the biggest changes that occurred because of 9/11 is America's military involvement in other countries. There are around 150,000 Utahns who serve or have served in the military and nearly 600 soldiers currently deployed (sent to another duty station - often in war) from Utah.
That means someone you know probably has a parent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister serving in the military. Odds are, there are a few kids in your school with a family member that is deployed right now. Having a parent in the military and dealing with deployments can sometimes be overwhelming for teens. They take on added responsibilities and stress.
Military kids serve too, and having support from people in their community can be a tremendous help. The National Family Military Association made a list: 10 Things Military Teens Want You To Know. Here is a short summary of their study.
1. We are proud of our parents. Our family members who serve were our heroes before they joined the military. We appreciate recognition of our family's service. We do notice when people say thank you.
2. We think about war a lot. News of a local service member being killed is frightening - it could be our family member. We don't expect you to agree with the war but we don't want to hear your bad-mouthing our family members who are there.
3. We move a lot. Moving around the world can offer both excitement and isolation. But now we live in your community. We are part of your schools and churches. We want to be part of the community.
4. We take on a lot of responsibility. We have to help out more around the house, we have to explain why our dad isn't at our recital or graduation, and we have to support our siblings. We miss our parents. We want someone to talk to.
5. We appreciate service. We know that we are part of the community of public servants (firefighters and police officers) who live with some uncertainty about their safety. We don't want pity.
What else can we do for our military teens? The same thing we can do for ourselves and our community as we mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11: Give back in service, remember and work for peace.
Some people have wondered if the events of 9/11 were only the first part of a complicated attack on America. The terrorists knew an attack on American soil would cause fear and disruption in our lives. The first attack was physical and the next attacks have been psychological.
As a teen, the majority of my life has included the war. Ten years have passed and it is time for peace.
Rachel Badali is a junior in Electronic High School. You can contact her at email@example.com.