Where do we stand in the aftermath?
Our lives changed on September 11. Forever. With the collapse
of two beacons of the free world and the penetration of an impregnable
Pentagon, the essence of our nation was rocked to its foundation. Millions
of Americans held candles in their hands, the stars and stripes sailed
over our terrorized country, and with patriotism and anguish, our nation
began to piece together the incomprehensible. President Bush choked up
on television, threats were issued to the faceless terrorists, and millions
of Americans were left to make sense of the unimaginable. The Bowdoin
Bubble burst, and without our notice, or maybe our understanding, a responsibility
fell upon us.
I sit writing this article more than one week after the
attack. The initial shock has lessened, disbelief turned into belief,
and the unknown a little more known. The panic and the frenzy, of a nation
turned upside down seems to have quieted a bit. It has taken me a good
week to even begin to make sense of it all, to try and place it into some
sort of comprehensible thought in my mind. I still read the news every
chance I get, and stop at every TV screen, waiting and wondering what
the answers will be; what the U.S. will do. These are questions that I
know won't be answered anytime soon, yet I can't help but sit and attempt
to piece together the answers.
I have done a lot of thinking and wondering in the past
week has turned into self-reflection. I've spent so much time critiquing
and asking myself what I'm really doing with my life. For if everything
seems uncertain at this point, only one thing is obvious: Our generation
has received an enormous responsibility. And whether we choose to acknowledge
this or not, we are the next generation waiting in line to lead this country.
I realize what began on September 11 will not end in the near future.
It will be a long, drawn-out struggle between freedom and terrorism. We
will be the ones to continue that struggle, to be at the forefront of
national and international relations in the years to come, to be at the
leading edge of world peace. That has to make you wonder about what direction
your life is aimed, or where it should be heading.
We are all very lucky to be at Bowdoin. We possess something
that so many people worldwide do not; an education. It is an education
that will give us the tools to do whatever it is we choose. It will give
us the agency to be the leaders in a world torn by terrorism, to be the
ones in our generation to build an international community founded on
peace. It would be an outright shame if each one of us did not utilize
an education wrought with so many benefits to further peace worldwide.
Forget selfishness, forget your self-centered career, because when the world trade centers collapsed and the Pentagon was breached, a world of responsibility landed on each of our shoulders. We have the tools to do something constructive with our lives, to help, even in the slightest manner, all of the international community. It is time for us to realize the greater endeavor that all of our lives will be apart. We will be the faces of world peace in the years to come, and Bowdoin will provide us with the tools to do so. The U.S. Naval Academy ranks colleges in the U.S. that have produced world leaders. Bowdoin was ranked number eight out of 3,000 colleges. Let's not put this opportunity to waste.