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The Cast of <i>Ten Years Later</i> These 14 young people, ranging from ages 9 to 23, teamed up to write a play about the post-9/11 world.
(All photos courtesy Ashley Marinaccio)

Being a Kid After 9/11

Young performers in New York City explore what it means to grow up after the world changed

By Tyrus Cukavac | August 22 , 2011
<p>Cast members rehearse for their debut on September 10.</p>

Cast members rehearse for their debut on September 10.

People around the country are preparing to observe the 10th anniversary of the tragedy known as 9/11. On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States and more than 3,000 people died. A group of young people in New York City, where the terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, are remembering the event in their own way. Together, they wrote a play to explore the impact of September 11 on their lives.

The final play is called Ten Years Later: Voices from the Post-9/11 Generation Speak. Co-director Ashley Marinaccio told Scholastic News, “It is completely youth driven. It focuses on the cultural aftermath of what it means to be a kid after 9/11.”

The writers and performers range from 9 to 23 years old. The youngest members of the group were not yet born when the events of 9/11 occurred. Others were children or young teens. Together, they interviewed community members, participated in writing exercises, and wrote songs to create an original play based on their experiences in New York following September 11.

A DIFFERENT AMERICA

Heightened security in buildings and airports and U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East are a few of the ways the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed life in the United States. Many young people growing up in the past 10 years don’t clearly remember what life was like before the tragedy.

“My first view of the Manhattan skyline was without the towers,” cast member Emily Rupp, now 21, says in the play. “When I first saw it, I just tried to imagine what it could’ve looked like. . . . My Manhattan skyline will always be an unfinished puzzle to me.”

Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. sent American troops to Afghanistan to try to find those who had planned the attacks. Thousands of troops remain there. Many cast members do not remember a time when the United States was not at war. The play explores this through monologues and scenes. Other themes include the meaning of patriotism and increased security in American life.

The first performance will take place on September 10 at Pace University in New York City as part of a larger memorial program. This performance is just one way people around the country are preparing for the anniversary. On September 11, a memorial honoring victims will be dedicated at Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

Ceremonies of remembrance will also take place at the two other sites where the terrorists crashed hijacked planes—at the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Scores of other services and events will mark the day around the nation as Americans seek to honor the memories of the victims.

Read more about how people across the United States are commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11.

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