The September 11 attacks are as defining a moment for the generation starting college this year as the Kennedy assassination was for their parents, Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal. For people young enough to still be children at the time but old enough to know what was going on, it was a "life-splitting event" that marked the end of carefree days and changed them more than they might realize, writes Noonan, who spoke to a group of students about their experiences.
"I would say it made everything real to a 12-year-old. It showed the world could be a dangerous place when for my generation that was never the case," says one student who was in 7th grade at the time. "As a small child you felt safe, but after 9/11, I don't think I personally will ever feel 100% safe," says another, who was haunted by nightmares long afterwards. He was moved, he says, by those who rose up to fight terrorism after 9/11, and believes the existence of such people means there's always hope.