Personal Essay: “On Age”

One morning last fall, huddled up in a classroom with other eager writing students, our professor spoke about how one could measure the passage of time, of generations by associating it with the kind of events that occur in someone’s life that are shared with large numbers of people. What she meant were the kind of large events that they affect millions of people, sometimes even crossing national and language boundaries. She mentioned the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister in the mid-80s as an example of such that an event for her generation, then smiled and added that naturally for most of us it was just something we had heard about during our history class in school. She then proposed that we all sit down to write about a large-scale event appropriate for our generation: The events of 9/11.

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