'I wasn't alive': How the post-9/11 generation is honoring the lives lost

For many adults, Sept. 11, 2001, is a day they will never forget. For the people born in the next generation, the date a piece of history.
Posted at 10:12 AM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 11:12:19-04

MILWAUKEE — For many adults, Sept. 11, 2001, is a day they will never forget. 

For the people born in the next generation, the date is a piece of history.

When cadets at Marquette University’s ROTC program recalled where they were when it happened, most said they weren’t even alive.

Cadet John Mohr is 19-years-old.

“I don’t have any of that memory. You talk about it and the gravity sinks in because you understand the implication, but you don’t have the visual. You didn’t see it and you didn’t experience it,” Mohr explained.

As they gear up to serve our country, they’re remembering what the day means without having lived through it.

“Sometimes it’s hard to imagine or conceptualize if you weren’t alive, but to hear personal stories definitely has a personal impact,” Ruby Nunnery, another cadet, said.

“Honoring their legacy is really important and we should continue to do it every year and every day.”

Some of the cadets’ professors reflected on where they were. It’s a shocking difference from their pupils.

“We heard the news and immediately were dismissed from school. We were bracing for the worst when 9/11 hit,” Master Sergeant Keyon Boens, an Army ROTC instructor, said.

He hopes that while the next generation of soldiers may not have lived through it, they carry the legacy of protecting our country.

“I don’t wear the uniform for me. I wear it for those who can’t anymore. That’s what 9/11 should be. Whether they’re in the military or not, we need to honor those that lost their lives,” Boens explained.

Monday morning, Marquette Navy and Air Force ROTC planted flags outside the Alumni Memorial Union on Marquette’s campus. It’s one way they said they can honor the lives lost in the tragedy.

Another way they hope to remember and honor that day is through their service.

“There were so many things that went wrong and part of the reason I’m here is to prevent them in the future,” Mohr said.