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September 11th, 10 Years Later

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
 Steven Roth Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. Although I’m not sure why every anniversary is not marked so meaningfully, the 10th anniversary was what most people would classify as a “big deal.” Unlike those service men and women a few years older, for the most part, my class did not join the military because of 9/11, rather we joined in the middle of the resulting wars and conflicts.

As I sat in my 6th grade science class, I knew something terrible had happened, but I certainly did not know how it would affect my future. The post-9/11 world is my life because of the little recollection I have sustained of what the United States and the world was like before that. Bottom line, I did not join the military or the Coast Guard because I wanted revenge for 9/11.

I spent Sunday, September 11th sailing under a clear blue sky, much like the on that shone over New York and Washington 10 years ago. I was sailing against the top teams in New England and sailing well, but not winning much. No one likes to lose. After the day was over, I overheard the conversations about the other teams’ entire afternoon practices, and the nights they have debriefs, and the classes they skip just because, etc.

We have two hours to practice, and last week, had to run off to multiple lectures and trainings. It made me question how much better I could be at sailing if there wasn’t all these nuisances in the way. This thought followed me into a local pub that night. After two hard days of sailing, it was time for some relaxation. I sat there with fellow team members, watching the clock, to see when I had to return from liberty.

As I looked back from the clock, I saw new footage of the Twin Towers literally falling on the NYFD, and then the screen going black. This was immediately followed by the NYPD drum and bugle corps playing amazing grace at the Jets game on a different TV. Chills ran down my entire body, needless to say. I looked over at my friend, with his face in his hand, attempting to try and hide his emotions. The bar was filled with senior enlisted Coasties attempting to do the same, most failing.

That thought of becoming a top college sailor immediately left my mind for something far more meaningful and powerful. I just thought to myself, “you’re damn right I’m glad I am where I am.”

Although I was far too young to be a “9/11 avenger” I am certainly in a position to defend my country, and make sure we can keep sailing whenever we want. That’s a position I realize I wouldn’t give up to sail the Olympics, and perhaps a position some of those other top sailors wish they were in: the position to make a difference.

Granted, many of my Ivy League friends are political science majors, and pre-meds that have every intention of making that difference in the post 9/11 world. However, with the current state of the economy, the likelihood of them achieving their goals is slimming with every drop in the Dow Jones. As long as I stay out of trouble, I get to take my butter bars in 8 short months and make a real difference, something I wouldn’t trade for any amount of sailing talent, or anything else.

More about Steven.