Thousands of Boston area college students gathered in the late night and early morning hours on Boston Common to express what they felt about the U.S. military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. The rallly was patriotic and full of youthful energy, with flag waving and singing of patriotic songs.
Though they were just children in 2011 when the two planes that took off from Boston’s Logan Airpirt were hijacked by bin Laden’s foot soldiers and forced to attack the World Trade Center in New York City, these young people responded directly and viscerally to the news of bin Laden’s demise. The gathering appeared to be spontaneous and spirited, almost like a rally after a Red Sox game.
For many observers, the gathering of college students was an unexpected but hopeful symbol of youthful engagement, echoing the gatherings in Times Square and Washington, D.C. on Sunday night and Monday after news of bin Laden’s death.
Each of these three East Coast cities was deeply affected by the events of September 11, 2001, so these “spontaneous flash mobs” of young people seem to reflect genuine concern. Though the so called “Millenial” generation has been accused of being apathetic, the fact that they responded so quickly and emotionally to the death of bin Laden may indicate otherwise.
Images of 9/11 are seared in our memory, says President Obama
“The images of 9/11 are seared into our memory,” said President Obama last night when he announced the news of bin Laden’s death. For these young college students who have grown up in a “post 9/11 world,” those images have been internalized in the form of fear — fear that the U.S. could never again be safe in a world taken over by terrorism.
9/11 changed everything for America and Americans
9/11 changed everything for America and Americans. Though the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is dead, most experts would agree that the world is still a very unsafe place and these young people know that.
Perhaps their expressions of patriotism say more about their hopes for a more safe, more united America than the death of bin Laden itself. A dangerous person is gone but the world remains a dangerous place. It just may be that these young people will step in to make things a little more safe for future generations.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and reflections in our comments section
Here is a thoughtful essay written by a Boston college student and published on Bsoton.com.