SUNBURY — Members of the class of 2014 were in kindergarten when the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, unfolded, but their memories of that day remain vivid.
“I went to St. Monica’s and they gathered us into one room in front of a television,” said Christa Beveridge, 17, a senior at Shikellamy High School. “The teachers were talking ... That’s when I cried ... We were so afraid something was going to happen here.”
Evan Witmer, also a 17-year-old Shikellamy senior, said he remembers coming home and seeing his mom outside.
“She was crying and putting flags out in the front yard,” he said.
A fellow senior, 18-year-old Ryan Kenney, said he was playing at home when his mom told him something was wrong.
“My mom explained what happened and I turned on the news and watched,” he said.
On Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the day that changed the nation, the students all acknowledged that Sept. 11 is a date that has shaped their young lives. The students have grown up in a time of international conflict — when words such as “al-Qaida,” “Osama bin Laden” and “war on terror,” are commonly used and hearing of war casualties on the evening news is commonplace.
“It’s always been that way,” Witmer said.
It’s difficult for the students to remember a time when the United States wasn’t involved in some overseas conflict, Kenney said.
“It’s hard to compare because that’s how we grew up,” Kenney said. “It’s difficult to picture peace because we’re not used to it.”
The constant news about conflicts and bombings can make today’s young people feel numb to the ongoing reports, Beveridge said.
“We’ve been desensitized,” she said. “You think, ‘It is what it is,’ you just keep rolling with it.”
But all three also said these events haven’t jaded their outlook on life and have instead encouraged patriotism and an appreciation of life.
“(Sept. 11) has brought us all together,” Kenney said. “We all know how precious life is now.”
Beveridge agreed, citing her visit to a doctor’s office Wednesday morning, which had a television turned to the Sept. 11 memorial service.
“During the moment of silence everyone just stopped what they were doing,” she said. “(Americans) really pull together.”