It’s been 20 years since 9/11. For many young people, the question of “where were you when it happened” can’t be answered. Even though many of the young adults going into the emergency service industry weren’t alive when 9/11 happened, they are still affected by what happened that day.
On Friday, Sept. 10, the Center for Student Life and the School of Human Protective Services hosted a 9/11 Memorial event. It was open to all students, community members, and even streamed via WebEx.
At the event, Chris Harrison delivered a message about the importance of remembering. The Sun Prairie Fire Chief emphasized that even if you can’t make it to an event every year, taking the time to honor the lives that were lost is crucial for everyone, even if not an emergency service member. Harrison also mentioned that this was especially important for the service members who weren’t alive during 9/11.
Those who weren’t alive that day understand how the day affected their community.
“For me it’s hard because I wasn’t alive and I probably don’t understand it to the point where others do, like my elders and the people around me, but what I was educated on in school and what they showed me is definitely a touchy subject so it’s a hard time,” said Tanner Williams, who attended the event with the Maple Grove Fire Department.
Listening was a theme that was widely shared across the service members who were alive and remember 9/11 vividly.
“I’m one of the older guys in the class and there’s a lot of people over there that were very young that have no memory of what took place. Luckily it was so well documented…So the biggest piece of advice that I have is to learn from it. Go back, do your research on it, figure out how it’s shaped and impacted this profession,” said Josh Tester, full time student and Colombia County Sheriff’s Department employee.
Even for those who weren’t alive at the time emphasized listening and learning from others.
“Listen to the people that have been there, who watched it happen, seen it happen because they know better than we do because we weren’t around when it happened so we don’t know how it really felt or the severity of it,” said Williams.