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9/11 shaped, doesn’t define millennials

The Millennial Generation’s political consciousness became a teenager Thursday, as the hallowed anniversary of one of America’s most tragic days came and passed.

Sept. 11 undeniably changed who we are not only as a nation, but as a generation. Now, 13 years removed from the tragedy, we must find out who we are.

Though many were too young to know what was happening when the towers fell before us on the television as we were making our way to school, undeniably it would come to mark the first day of our generation’s collective experience.

We would grow up in a world ruled by acronyms – NSA, TSA, CIA. We would grow up with war as a natural state of being. We would grow up being taught a doctrine of perpetual fear, xenophobia and, later, deep-rooted mistrust of our elected government officials.

However, this Sept. 11, the day that established so much of the world that we live in today, millennials are no longer the helpless children we were that day, being acted upon but not being able to act.

Now, in 2014, we as millennials are not only politically conscious, but politically aware and active. And with that we can control the direction of our country. Our fate is now in our own hands.

We have inherited our fathers’ and mothers’ wars and, with them, the crushing pressure that fear puts on our civil liberties. But, just because we are inheriting the world that our parents left for us, that does not mean that we have to accept it.

As we prepare for greater conflict in Iraq and Syria (for better or worse), we as millennials must assert ourselves as a constituency that must be consulted with about the direction of American policy.

Our time on the sidelines is over. It’s time for us to start participating and building the world that we are soon to take over.