Sadly, this lack of personal insight into the 9/11 tragedy will become increasingly more common in high school and college freshman classrooms. Seven years ago, the national mantra became "We Shall Never Forget!" In many ways, forgetting has not been an issue for those who witnessed the terrorist attacks in real life or on television. In fact, most people who were old enough to realize what was going on in New York City and Washington seven years ago can tell you where they were and how they felt when they learned of the towers being hit. Such is not the case, though, for the rising generation, who have little or no memory of 9/11/2001. Unfortunately, they will never forget only because they have nothing to forget.
The old cliche is that history repeats itself. In reality, history follows no pre-established pattern.
Rather, generations of human society memorialize, politicize, commercialize, and sanitize the lessons they learn from times of crisis and tragedy...so that the rising generation can either misinterpret them (think Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor) or forget them altogether.
Once, when I was in elementary school, I watched as a neighborhood girl pretended that a rivet on the inner wall of the school bus was a hidden Soviet camera. She kept yelling, "Dirty Russian! Unlike you, I can BELIEVE IN GOD!!!" I was born in 1980, and while I have this hint of a Cold War memory, I can't say I carry with me any of the important lessons of the Cold War era. My daughters, similarly, were both born after 9/11/2001. They will grow up in a world largely affected by the events of that day, but increasingly ignorant of its lessons.
So, it is possible to argue that every generation is affected by at least two tragedies: the one it forgets, and the one it experiences because of its forgetfulness.