A member of ‘Generation 9/11’ speaks on living from crisis to crisis

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Sept. 11 happened 19 years ago. Those who were kids then are now adults.

The kids who were born that year recently graduated high school.

If you go to any college campus, you’ll find freshmen used to marking milestones in a troubled world. At Augusta University, you’ll find an 18-year-old carrying a message of hope.

“Our class is different,” AU freshman Makayla Kirkpatrick said. “We are not the same. You know, COVID means we are not like regular classes.”

Kirkpatrick isn’t your typical freshman either.

“We are built to be strong and courageous,” Kirkpatrick said.

She was the valedictorian at Curtis Baptist School, and didn’t know what to say at her graduation.

“I was like, ‘Mom, I worked so hard for these last 12 years to get to this point and now it’s all gone,’” Kirkpatrick said.

“She said, ‘Listen, you were born during 9/11 and now you’re graduating during a pandemic. That’s got to mean something.’”

So that’s what she shared -- not a story of fear or crisis, but of courage.

“I’m not going to let 9/11. I’m not going to let the pandemic. I’m not going to let these situations in my life take control over me,” Kirkpatrick said.

On a solemn day and in a chaotic time, the same can be said. Fear won’t take control, and we can stand together.

“We learn from the circumstances where everything goes wrong,” Kirkpatrick said. “That’s when we grow the most. That’s when we develop whenever we’re put under pressure.”

So if that’s true, a generation born under pressure should know what it takes to withstand uncertainty.

“Focus on always being kind, always showing love, because you never know what could happen,” Kirkpatrick said.

After all, we are all living in a world transformed by history and a pandemic. It’s up to us to carry the hope of what we’ve learned.

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