On this day 17 years ago, Americans started their mornings hearing that the nation had been attacked. 2,977 people were killed that day between the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The events that took place on 9/11 shaped generations of U.S. citizens, especially students on SCSU’s campus.
The following from University Chronicle staff give a glimpse of how 9/11 has impacted different age groups.
Today marks a day of remembrance for an event that has made ripples of effects on my life since I was a mere thirteen months old. For a project in my high school, I interviewed my family what they were doing at the time of the horrific, world-changing event that happened seventeen years ago today. As millions watched the replays of the plane hitting the towers, I was fast asleep in the safe and protective arms of my grandmother.
Pretty soon, college freshman won’t even have been born when the attacks occurred, but even I don’t have any recollection of that day. Although I don’t remember watching the towers being hit in real-time, I see the impacts of the event all around in the world I live. Every time I go on an airplane, older generations scoff at the long, intense security, while that has always been the norm for me. Some feel safer with the added security at our borders and for others it is another reminder of the dangers in this world. Sadly, because of the actions of a few that day, many adults in my community tried to instill fear of other cultures in me. Thankfully, my personal upbringing and education has taught me to celebrate other cultures and the people that practice them.
The attacks on 9/11 were horrific, but they brought Americans and the world together. Since the 9/11 attacks seventeen years ago, the world has become a global family that offers each other a protective hug when horrors are happening in front of our eyes, like my grandmother did for me seventeen years ago.
-Anna Panek, University Chronicle contributor
17 years ago, I was five-years-old in my kindergarten class with little recollection of an event that would change innumerable amounts of lives. I don’t remember any of the videos as they were cast live, but I do remember the videos I saw as I grew older. I can still feel my stomach tighten with the thought.
In February of 2013, Just under 11 1/2 years later, I sat in my childhood home kitchen with a Minnesota Army National Guard recruiter. Two weeks later, I would raise my right hand to recite the enlistment credo and enter the military as a private “e-fuzzy.” I shipped out to basic and once I arrived was placed with a new company. One of the first things we were asked was, “Why did you enlist?” Some had done it; for citizenship, others for a new life experience, college money, and some just because they had nowhere else to go. I had to really think hard about why exactly I enlisted. To me, the answer was easy, because it was what I was supposed to do.
I was told the answer was very vague and outright boring, leading me to soul search. I remembered that my great-grandfather had served in the Air Force in Korea, and grandfather in the Air Force in Vietnam; but what did I enlisted for? It took me until I got home from basic before I could truly answer that question. As 9-11 came around I began to understand what it was that I enlisted for.
In February earlier that year, I had raised my hand and vowed that, “…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….” On 9-11-2013, I was finally able to answer the question posed to me about why I had enlisted. I did it to stand ready to defend my country against those who would try to hurt us in the same way they had 12 years earlier. I enlisted to make a difference to those for those who no longer could. September 11, 2001, made me set my life goal to help people and keep as many of them safe as I personally could. 9-11 helped me define how I wanted to live.
-Anthony Eichten, University Chronicle contributor
On September 11, 2001 my 10-year-old self was preparing for another school day. I settled down on the couch eating sugar filled cereal, begging my older brother to watch cartoons instead of the morning news. Thats when my eyes became glued to the TV screen, a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I had never heard of the building before, but seeing them stand side-by-side I recognized their iconic look.
At first many thought it must have been an accident, that was until my brother and I saw the second plane collide with the other tower. It became apparent quickly it was no random act.
We then headed to school with an uneasy feeling, not fully understanding what exactly happened. When I arrived to school, the teachers told us regular classes wouldn’t be taking place. Instead whole class was glued to the TV seeing the towers go down and the wreckage from the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA.
Looking back the teachers were doing all they could keep the class calm, awaiting further instruction as to how the day would progress. Ultimately, we would all be sent home early.
9/11 was a crucial turning point for Americans, young and old, previously the idea of an attack on U.S. soil was virtually inconceivable. These types of attacks were something talked about almost fictitiously.
It was in-essence the end of a time of innocence on the side of the American public. It made us rethink the idea that we are always safe. After 9/11 discussions of where could be the next target was on all of our minds. If an attack happened in Minnesota, what would be the target?
As time has passed so has the fear. Regardless of past events, letting the actions of a few radical individuals dictate your life is only giving in to what they wished to achieve.
On this anniversary, I wish for this to be a reminder of the unity Americans once had after such a terrible event. An attack on one of us, is attack on all of us. It didn’t matter your identity, ideology, race or creed. It was time we could all learn from, especially with current division in our country.
-Chase McNamara, University Chronicle editor-in-chief
All opinions are those of the contributing writers, not of the University Chronicle.