On 9/11, I was conducting a college class when a student informed me that a plane flew into the World Trade Center. Incredulous, I went on with the lesson. Little did I know what was to come in the days ahead.
Last week, I was again with a group of students when news came of explosions in Boston. I realized most of them were quite young during 9/11 -- just as I was during the 1960s, known to some as the "era of assassination."
While my childhood may be more innocent -- I lived in a less technological age -- it too was affected by the enormity of the untimely deaths of President Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and MLK and RFK in 1968. Innocence was shattered for many during that decade, as we saw vividly how cruel adults could be.
Today, the 2000s are becoming the "era of mass killings," starting with Oklahoma City in 1994, Columbine in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007, Fort Hood in 2009, Aurora and Newtown in 2012 and Boston in 2013.
I am concerned about the impact on our youth, perhaps as much as my elders were concerned about my generation as we all watched little John-John salute his father's casket. Today it is on a larger scale, the news is more immediate and replayable, the scenes more graphic. My fear is that our youth will become desensitized to the mass violence and of having to live in fear of their neighbors.
I do hope my concerns are unfounded, and I pray that we "elders" will do our best to show them the importance of respecting life and the power of love and goodness.
PETER L. DeNARDIS