I was 10 years old on 9/11. It was just another day in fifth grade — until class was interrupted for a special announcement. Nothing could have prepared me for the words that came next. I remember the shock, the fear and the disbelief. Particularly the disbelief. How could it ever be possible? How could this happen here? My idealistic American bubble — secure, untarnished, untouchable — had suddenly been popped.

Ten years have passed since that tragic morning; I’m now 20. I can’t help but feel that there is a deeper meaning in this perfect numerical symmetry. The America of the ’90s — the America of my childhood — truly was a different place. The economy was never a dinner-table topic. Luxury toys like Beanie Babies, Furbies and Tamagotchis were all the rage. Bill Clinton was globe-trotting at will — and with great success. After 40-plus years of tussling with the Soviets, America had a decade to savor its just desserts.

Yet, on Sept. 11, 2001, reality once again arrived on America’s doorstep. It came not only in the form of physical attack, but also by means of the economic, geopolitical and cultural struggles that ensued. Soon enough the chosen nation was brought back down to earth.

We stand now at the bottom of one of the biggest holes in recent history. No longer can we rely on tired excuses or inflated egos to talk our way out. Instead, we would do well to remember the innate resilience of the American spirit, the same resilience that emanated from the bravest men and women of this nation on the 11th of September, 10 years ago. Now more than ever, theirs is an example we should all learn from.

Rory Marsh is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College.