Remember 9/11

Courtesy of Alhambra Chamber.

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

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8 thoughts on “Remember 9/11

  1. middle_class_adventurer

    It had an impact around the world. We in India …. Did feel it. Dad even picked me up from school early. I guess he feared it could have been a worldwide attack. I remember watching it on TV. But of course too young to understand. Mom, sensitive and strong, hiding her tears. Thinking abt it now …Gives me chills. The innocent lives lost …. Nothing can bring them back. No amount of Sympathy can heal their scars. And you’re right …. Innocent Muslims and other people faced so much trouble and pain. Imagine their fear.

  2. I think the planners of the attacks must have realized that the attacks would send the US into a tailspin of sorts for years. It forced us to spend human, financial and political capital on finding out who did it and to wage war on two fronts for years. The war on terror has been with us for a generation and will be with us for years to come.

  3. The news coverage was unlike anything at that time in the 24 hour news cycle. The worst of it was everyone talking about how terrible it was and then repeatedly showing the plane crashing into the building over and over and over. It became too much. I had to turn off the TV because the emotion was too much.

    The scariest part was that for a few days after we weren’t certain if more attacks were on the way and what would be hit next. It was scary. I feared for President Bush’s life as well as other leaders. It also changed the way we administered security. No more walking with your family to watch their plane depart.

    It seems like you have become desensitized in a way to the news coverage. And, I can understand that. People have argued “more stuff” happens today. That isn’t so. I am older than you, probably a little more than ten years. I can remember before there was a 24/7 news coverage. You heard about local stories either on your news and or in the paper the next day. It was rare to see anything on TV that wasn’t local. It was usually out of major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, or Washington D.C. Now, you can literally watch everything unfolding live at anytime from any place. So it isn’t necessarily that “more stuff” happens it is just we know about it, immediately, from every pocket of the globe in real time.

    I try to keep the faith. I believe in the ripple effect. I can’t change the world but perhaps if I can affect my local surroundings I can cause a ripple big enough that eventually it creates waves.

    Nice write-up. You might not recall this but there was actually a terror attack in 1993 in the basement of Twin Towers. That one seems largely forgotten at times.

    1. Yes, I can imagine how difficult it must’ve been to witness it as an adult (again, I was too little to remember anything, although I lived through the effects).

      It’s true how news is much more accessible these days with social media and apps; there’s just too much exposure that we definitely have become desensitized to it. We shouldn’t, though, since things won’t progress without being active about it.

      I didn’t even know that there was a 1993 attack at the Twin Towers. The terrorist attacks in 2001 was certainly a much-larger scale one, but of course, we shouldn’t forget others as well.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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