This may sound like a weird question, but nearly a quarter of our population wasn’t even born in 2001.

As we near the 17th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I was writing an article about how different things are now compared to the year 2001. I was discussing how those who are high school seniors this year were either just a few months old or not even born yet on that day.

While I know things have progressed quite a bit since then, I didn’t realize how much until I started digging in to what I was writing. As such, I thought it would be interesting to make a list of some of things that were different, or things which didn’t even exist on September 11th, 2001.

Things that didn’t exist:  

“Smart” phones (There were NO android or I-Phones yet)

I-Pads & Tablets

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat & You Tube (Social media just wasn’t a thing. Does that mean we were anti-social? Hmmm.)

Wii & X-Box (That’s right…No Call of Duty)

Angry Birds & Candy Crush (Remember Snake? That and Tetris were about all we had)

Uber / Lyft

Airbnb

Streaming services (Netflix mailed movies to your house)

“Selfies” (well, I guess there have always been selfies, but nobody cared)

Apps (Phones were for making calls – crazy, isn’t it?)

The Department of Homeland Security & TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) weren’t even a thought (we could actually keep our shoes on at the airport).

Things that were Different:

Wi-Fi and wireless? Ha! Most everything had a cord attached to it. We just found really long cords when we wanted to move around.

Most homes still had dial-up internet (R.I.P. AOL). If you wanted to download multiple songs, you’d better set aside your afternoon to do it. And you better hope you didn’t have anything else to do on the computer (or telephone) because the downloads would literally last an hour or more.

If you didn’t want to wait for a download, there were real stores just for music. Remember Sam Goody & Musicland? A trip to the mall wasn’t complete without a trip to the music store to see what was new.

Let’s not forget movies…Blockbuster was transitioning its inventory from VHS tapes to DVD’s in 2001. If you have to ask who Blockbuster is or what VHS tapes were, I have no words. Just Google it.

As for Google, they were still just a baby. Gmail and Chrome weren’t made yet.                 Do you remember Yahoo? How about Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, Webcrawler or Ask Jeeves? Ah yes, Google made life so much easier for us in our quest for information…

Back then there were no drones in the sky watching us and cameras weren’t capturing our every move. Our phones weren’t tapped (that we know of) and government surveillance was far from a commonplace thought.

We also didn’t worry about identity theft or data breeches.

It’s hard to believe seventeen years has made such a difference in society. Life was actually pretty good back then, or so it seemed. We lived pretty carefree.

But there was one thing we had back then we don’t have now – innocence.

We never could have imagined airplanes flying into buildings.

We never could have imagined the freedoms we gave up on that September morning.

Thousands of people lost their lives that day, but millions more were forever changed.

The changes weren’t about technology though. They’re about how we live our daily lives. They’re about the way we think and how we feel.  Anyone who lived through that day remembers exactly how they felt as if it were yesterday.

This is something those under the age of 21 will never understand until some significant historical event happens to their generation. I hope they’ll never have to experience what we felt, and what generations before us experienced with Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination, but history tells us they will.

September 11th is a day to remember lives lost. It’s also important to remember everything else we lost on that day, even if you weren’t born yet.

Written by Marty Augustine


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