College students born after 9/11 on what 21st anniversary of terrorist attacks means to them

By | September 11, 2022

Fox News Digital spoke with Gen Z Americans on campuses across the country ahead of the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

This is the first generation to learn about the attacks through others since they were not yet born the day America came under attack. Members of the college class of 2026 were not born until three years after the attacks.

“It’s hard to find it super meaningful just because you weren’t there when it happened,” a University of Texas at Austin student admitted.

Students agreed it is important for future generations to continue to learn about the events of 9/11 in school, just as they did.

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“I think 9/11 is a very pertinent piece of American history,” a University of Florida student told Fox News Digital. While all the college students Fox News Digital spoke with said they were taught about the attacks, some thought “it should be taught more.” 

The attacks revealed a deeply shaken nation, with many coming together in a spirit of sadness and patriotism. The attacks resulted in wars with the Middle East, which the public initially rallied around.

The historic event also shaped how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home, with many supporting safety measures in airports and other public spaces. 

Although the majority of students interviewed were not alive to see the towers fall, students grew up in the aftermath and were able to see America unify over their shared tragedy. 

The enduring legacy of 9/11 is still shared today, with many Americans remembering what they were doing and where they were when they found out about the attacks.

Despite an ongoing debate on how history should be taught in school, lessons about 9/11 continue to highlight the courageous acts of men and women at the World Trade Center and first responders.

“It’s about sacrifice and not forgetting about the people who gave up their lives for others,” a University of Florida student said.

Students see the annual remembrance as an opportunity to also highlight the way the nation came together after that day and to “Never Forget” the tragedy that shaped their childhoods. 

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“The whole country was together,” a University of Florida student said. “There was not any type of animosity toward each other. Everyone was an American after that day.”

Noting the recent polarization of the country, a University of Central Florida student admitted it was a reminder that the country may not be as divided as it seems. 

“I guess we have more in common with each other than we think because, after stuff like this happens, a lot of people come together,” the student told Fox News Digital. 

A University of Texas student noted that while people may have different “political beliefs and different backgrounds,” it is important to stay “united.”

“The things that happen impact everyone,” she said. 

Other students shared what lessons they thought were important from the horrific attacks.

“There were thousands of people who lost their lives due to 9/11,” the student told Fox News Digital. “That should not be a politicized issue.”