Today marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 (commonly known as “9/11”) that took place in several locations in the United States: New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
There were a total of three planned attacks, the first one involving four hijacked passenger airliners which crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. Within two hours, both towers collapsed.
The second attack occurred at the U.S. Department of Defense’s headquarters: the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, with another hijacked passenger flight that ended up killing everyone on board, as well as those inside the Pentagon.
Finally, the third one took place near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, with another hijacked passenger flight that had originally aimed to hit Washington, D.C., but instead crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers and crew on board tried to thwart the hijackers’ efforts. Everyone on the aircraft were killed in the process.
The September 11 attacks remains one of the deadliest incidents to have happened in United States history, with almost 3,000 killed and over 6,000 others injured. Since the attacks, the country have declared war against terrorism, and has gone about finding those who perpetrated the attacks (the most notable one being Osama bin-Laden of al-Qaeda, who was found and killed by U.S. soldiers in 2011 after almost a decade of evading capture). Even to this day, the nation continues to fight against acts of terror, from old and new terrorist groups domestically and internationally.
For me, I was in 3rd grade when the attacks happened. I was so young then that I didn’t even remember ever watching it on television (apparently, news of it was on every channel, and coverage of it continued to be played for weeks, even months). However, I did recall that the following year, much of the news was focused on going to war with Iraq and another Middle Eastern countries, and that I was concerned for the safety of our nation. That was when the ramifications for the 9/11 attacks hit me.
Growing up, I never realized how much of an impact it had on the United States, the good and the bad. On one hand, so many lives were lost, and many children were left without parents in just an instant. People from the Middle East and of Middle Eastern origins were look upon disdainfully, and even were subjected to hostile, even deadly, treatment all across the country; to this day, they are still discriminated against. War was declared on the Middle East, and we sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers into those countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria) without, in my opinion, much planning for how to fight against terror- we’re still in this mess today.
At the same time, some good has come out of the 9/11 attacks. For one thing, we came together as a nation to help those affected, whether donating blood, raising charity funds, or simply expressing our condolences to the lives lost. Since then, the One World Trade Center has been built, recently opening in 2014 and houses the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to commemorate the eponymous event.
While so many more terrorist attacks have occurred in the decade and a half afterwards, and despite some of us already desensitized to the news of another bombing, another shooting, or another act of terror, we shouldn’t let it become this way. As a millennial who has grown up with all of these terrible acts happening in the world, I admit that I’ve seen too many of them on the news to care as much. However, when stepping back and taking the time to reflect on just how important their effects are on society (some even hitting too close to home), that really makes me realize that we still need to talk about this, about how horrible these attacks were and how to go about finding peace. Sounds like wishful thinking, but by doing so can we only then move forward with ease in the future.
Thank you for listening. Have a good (and respectful) day.
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic