An adolescence and early adulthood filled with a war on terror.
For millennials, Osama bin Laden defined a decade of their formative years. He was quite literally the face of terrorism. 9/11 is our “remember when” moment. Many of us were in high school or college on that dark day in September and remember vividly when the attacks were tied to bin Laden. And we’ll likely remember where we were when we heard, ten years later, that bin Laden had been killed.
But to my son, bin Laden will be a figure in an historical book. 9/11 will be like our JFK. bin Laden’s death will be a Challenger explosion, here when it happened, but with no memory of it.
Video footage will be available, but he won’t ever know what it “felt” like. How will our children read about this, how will they understand what happened?
Then there’s an older generation of kids that are of age now, but not for 9/11. Today’s 9 and 10 year olds who are asking their parents who bin Laden was and why many are celebrating his death.
But how do we explain this last decade to our children? How do we even explain who we’re ultimately fighting now? And how do we try and explain to our children how this was worth it? When our children are still burdened with our massive debt and deficits, and they see the war on terror as a line item on that receipt, will they think the death of one man was worth it?
I’m watching CNN, my son is sitting on the floor playing with toy cars. A moment he’ll never remember. But one I certainly will.