Do you remember where you were when the US troops invaded Iraq five years ago? How have the past five years at war (six and a half if you start with 9/11 and Afghanistan) changed your life, if at all?
For those of you between roughly 16 and 25 years old now: Has growing up while your country is at war shaped your generation in any way?
In March 2003 I was reporting from Europe for NPR. In the days before the invasion I covered diplomatic maneuverings about weapons inspections and military coalition building. On March 20th and in the days after I watched and reported on protest after protest, as European opposition to the long-anticipated war took to the streets.
I went to Iraq six months later and reported regularly from there until early 2005. On periodic visits to Oregon it was clear this war was dividing the country. I felt it looked black and white from here, although as I told Willamette Week then, to me it was many shades of grey.
I’ve been wondering ever since how the war is making a lasting impression here.
So for the next generation - here are my questions:
- Do you pay much attention to the war in Iraq?
- Do you talk about it with your friends?
- Can you remember a moment when you learned something about Iraq or the war that made you change your mind about something?
- Do you count yourself as part of an “Iraq war generation”?
- How, if at all, has growing up while your country is at war, affected you? Your generation?
- If you’re not a Millennial, but Gen Xer, a baby boomer, or anyone else - has the Iraq war shaped your generation in tangible ways?
- Isauro Saldana: Senior, Redmond High School. Student body vice president. Treasurer, National Honor Society. President, Future Business Leaders of America.
- Aria Joughin: Junior, Franklin High School, Portland. Student board representative, Independent Publishing Resources Center.
- Andrea Green: Senior, varsity soccer player South Medford High School.
- Josh Coombs: Sergeant in inactive ready reserves of the US Marine Corp, after four years active duty including six month deployment to Iraq. Freshman at Lane Community College, Eugene.
- Neil Howe: Co-author of “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069” and “Millennials Rising.” Founder, Lifecourse Associates.