NEW YORK, NY--As the nation commemorates the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a coalition of adults have stepped forward to announce their concerns that the nation's 11-year-olds have grown up believing that the uncertain and gloomy realities they had grown up with were not ingrained realities of living in the United States, but rather a recent departure from American norms. The group gathered at the edge of the September 11 memorial in Manhattan to hold a press conference to raise awareness about their concerns.
"It is worrisome to myself and my fellow parents that of our children have lived in a time most adults consider a sad and stunning departure from a time of peace, prosperity, and enthusiasm for the future," said Weston, CT resident James Garder, with approximately 100 parents behind him. "While at this point, there isn't anything we can do to reverse this serious and very real cultural shift, we'd like to make it known for posterity that life used to be more enjoyable."
Garder spoke for about 45 minutes, during which time he expressed the group's concern that a flat economy, unchecked executive power, and previously-unimagined levels of cynicism and distrust of government were not sadly recent developments, but a basic fact of life for the majority of American children.
"Our children's baseline has been what basically every adult we know has considers the worst 11-year stretch ever," said the 49-year-old father of three. "That's pretty rough for a child, so we'd like to take a moment today and ask if that's a direction we want to keep going in, because I don't think our kids will, once they figure it all out."
Children present at the press conference expressed dismay upon hearing the news. "I believed that the United States had always been at war in the Middle East, and there was always a pervasive stream of depressing information that made it difficult to get out of bed in the morning," admitted Trenton schoolchild Eric Jordan, present at the memorial with his mother and father. "To learn that those things actually only became a staple of life shortly after I was born really sucks."
Jordan was immediately admonished by his mother for inappropriate language.
"The other night, I was listening to mom and dad talk about how nothing has really ever seemed the same since the towers fell, and how they wish they could go back to those simple times," said Eric Howell, who was six months old when the attacks occurred. "Just like that, it hit me: I've been living my life in a pretty dark chapter of the last 50 years, haven't I?"
"Last week, my dad was telling me stories of how airport security used to be, and it freaked me out," said the 10-year-old Jordan. "People didn't need to take off their shoes and belts? Non-flyers were allowed to wait at the gate for their friends and family? Old ladies weren't subjected to body scans? And this stopped when I was born? What the hell?"
Jordan was again corrected by his mother for using inappropriate language.
"I don't want to leave our kids with the impression that our childhoods were ideal," admitted Albany native and mother of two Carol Newsome. "I mean, the Cold War, Columbine, Oklahoma City, the First Gulf War-all pretty terrible, but at no point did the U.S. government attempt to condone torture, and neither did the idea ever cross people's minds to let the government fly drones over the countryside."
"We actually ran a budget surplus--a budget surplus, for Pete's sake, when I was born," noted Newsome's son Arnold. "Now we have a $16 trillion debt and virtually-unfixable political gridlock. I can't help but feel that my birth may have had something to do with that."
Taking time to address the gathered children directly, Garder also wanted to make clear that a now-permanent state of paranoia about terrorism and Islam was also a very recent development in Western society. "It's true, kids, as you may have read, that 'terrorism' used to be considered an evil political maneuver and not a sentient, singular ideology against which a prolonged war could possibly accomplish anything. Yes, there was a time when the fear of being blown up by a foreign radical was held on par with getting eaten by a hippo. We're sorry that's not the world we're leaving you, but always remember that you can mold the world in whatever way you see fit. It will be up to you to leave the world in a better shape for your children than we left it for you. Don't feel beholden to our mistakes. "
"Also don't forget social security, we need somebody to fix that for us." finished Garder.