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9/11 plus 10

Commentary: How events shape generations

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The first time we visited the World Wide Web. The call to bring down the Berlin Wall. The elation of the first moon landing. The assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. These are events that shape generations. In our thinking, our actions, our culture. Our government. Our future. Our fears. I awoke on Sept. 11, 2011, to a distressed phone call from my Mom. "It's horrible." I was still spiraling out of sleep, and this just wasn't making sense. Was someone in the family hurt, or worse? No, they were all accounted for. "What's going on?" I remember asking. Something big. I leapt up and drove to work. At the time I was a newspaper reporter, covering a federal research laboratories beat. One of the missions at the lab was in counterterrorism, and I had attended earlier talks at the lab in which security analysts highlighted Osama Bin Laden and other figures as possible threats to the U.S. Such talks had seemed like text...