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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 76 - 9/8/2002
America 911: One Year Later. What's Changed? Are we Safer?
September 11th, 2001 set in motion various changes in the way that people view the world. From personal tragedies to governmental policies to global military actions, many stories have emerged from that one fateful day. Has YOUR life changed since 9/11/01? How has the world changed? Are you feeling more or less secure these days? Do you think that 9/11 is too much the focus for current events/ policies or are we really living in a different world today? Will the 'war on terror' ever be over? Will you do something to commemorate this day or do you just wish that all of the hype would go away?
You can review the original posts from last year's 9/11 Perspectives at: Responses to 9/11
| Reponses: There are 103 responses posted to this question.
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| I Saw It All And I'll Always Be Sad ||Sep 8th. at 11:50:17 pm EDT|
|jamiek (clifton ,NJ) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Most of you have only seen video and photos from 9/11. The scope and size of the destruction cannot be fully comprehended in that medium. It's one of those things that you have to see in person to really understand.
Unfortunately for me I live only about 10 miles west of NYC and have an unobstructed view of Manhattan Island and the sky line from Garret Mt., a 5 minute walk from my house. From there I can see from the George Washington Bridge in the North all the way down past the Southern tip of NYC. On that day from that spot a few friends and myself witnessed the crimes first hand.
The day started off quite normal. It was a beautiful late summer morning. Sunny and 80 degrees F. My two girls were just beginning the new school year. I dropped my eldest daughter off at school at 7:45 , returned home so my wife could then take my youngest girl to school at 8:30 and head off to work.
My wife Lauren had a news station on the car radio when they reported that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. She thought this so news worthy that instead of heading straight to work she stopped by our home just long enough to tell me and left for work.
I turned on the TV and saw images of the South Tower engulfed in smoke and flames. I went outside and met up with a few of my friends, we basically sprinted up the road to the top of the mountain. We got there just in time to see the second plane hit. We watched the towers burn and fall. When the first tower fell the plume of smoke that rose up looked like someone had set off a small nuclear bomb. Then as we all know the second tower fell as well as the 47 story building #7. The next thing I remember were the F-15's and 16's flying all over the place.
To see what looked like the entire southern tip of Manhattan covered in smoke and fire was a sickening site. It looked like a scene from a Science Fiction Movie yet it was happening. The smoke, the flames the reality of it all was unreal, yet we all knew it was real.
The fires burned for weeks. The fires left a grey smudged streak in the sky ,even on the clearest days . We all knew after a while the smoke wasn't only from the fallen buildings burning ,it was also from the bodies trapped beneath the rubble as well.
Ask your grandparents about Stalingrad or Leningrad if you live near those cities. Listen to their stories about the carnage. Those events were far worse than 9/11 but it's all I can come up with as a comparison.
The nearly 3000 people who perished on that day came from all walks of life from almost every corner of the world and from many different faiths. They were all mostly civilians. They were at the WTC because most of them worked there. They committed no crime or had an agenda against the racist fanatics who murdered them. Bottom line is they just wanted to make a buck to support themselves and their families.
Am I mad, do I want retribution? The answer is yes. It must be clear and justified but I want anyone responsible or connected to pay. Whether it be Bin Laden, Saddam or Joe Smith . To target civilians is just plain immoral. To support such actions conveys a sick and twisted mind and an evil soul. These actions are not what Islam is about nor does it represent the 5 pillars of Islam.
It's really up to you to weed the truth from the lies and make your decision based on how you perceive the truth and your own morality.
I'm not a judge nor jury ,only a witness.
| The World Is As It Ever Was ||Sep 9th. at 1:23:07 am EDT|
|Richard (Washington State) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I have never felt more overexposed to the banality of politicians and mainstream America than now--that is how my world has changed. I can hardly stomach the wretched excess. What happened on Sept. 11th was cruel to its victims and their families and all first-hand witnesses, as all atrocities against humanity are. However, it is far from the worst thing I have heard of in this world. Rwanda: hundreds of thousands, systematically hacked to death. 800,000? Dresden, Nanking, Hiroshima, Stalin's gulags, Nazi death camps, Cambodian purges. Over 90% of WWII dead were noncombatants. Innocent people are killed on a regular basis. The world is ocasionally sick and cruel beyond belief, and in record numbers--that this is shocking and something new to millions of Americans simply boggles my mind. And now, our current administration is fixing to spill massive buckets of blood in Iraq. The chance of becoming a victim of terrorism is greater abroad, but practically nonexistent domestically. As always, I'm more concerned about the ethics of my neighbors and the criminal proclivities of my fellow Americans. Road ragers, meth heads, paroled felons. The war on terrorism will most likely end when a largish asteroid finally destroys the planet (any given moment), or when the earth is consumed by the sun, expanding in its death throes (6 billion years). I will watch the evening news on Sept. 11th, only because there is a reasonable chance that another attack will occur somewhere around the world. I think the more fuss we make over 9/11, the greater chance that terrorists will go out of their way to commemorate the occasion. I wish the hype would just go away.
| I Wish We Would Make Some Effort To Move On ||Sep 9th. at 1:48:55 am EDT|
|janet (washington) ||Age: 54 - Email |
I understand grief, I've been there but this public mourning seems counte productive to all that we hold dear. Privacy is lost, freedoms are curtailed, people are marked as unamerican all in the name of safety. Yet everything we have in life says nothing is totally safe, we adore risktakers and glorify violent sport and risky hobbies, yet everyone including our soldiers should be immune to risk on any other front. I believe we should take all the lovely stories of americans helping each other in times of need and how many survived did so through their own courage and how the ones who didn't , namely the firefighters and policemen, were not murdered but sacrificed their lives in the name of rescuing their fellow man. We should hold up our heads and look the world in the eye and say "we are survivors, you cannot kill a democracy" . Then we should tell everyone that we will rebuild buildings on the site, bigger , better, more beautiful and more american. Lets stop wallowing in our grief. I know how hard it is for those involved but it wont be better if we keep telling people to be afraid, be very afraid.
| Why All The Suprise? ||Sep 9th. at 2:31:41 am EDT|
|Pennance~Vendeatta~Sharde Dracul (San Mateo, California) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I know that this may seem cynical, and even a little harsh; but there is nothing that happened on September 11th that isn't happening all over the world. It, unfortunately, is something that is fairly commonplace in our world today. We don't recognize each act of global terrorism on this scale, simply because it didn't happen to us and now that it has, all of a sudden everone thinks that "it's gone too far." when really, it's gone way too far for way too long.
September 11th did change my perspective on life; not mine, but the lives of others. Where before I may have ignored someone who's homeless, now I give them a hello or a smile. Where before I would have been ready to fight at the drop of a hat, I now find myself trying to spread peace and tolerance everywhere I can. I now know that yes we have to stand up for ourselves, and fight the good fights, but that our quests, our fights and even our victories are hollow and quite frankly they're nothing if it, in any way, infringes on the lives of ANY LIVING BEINGS!
If we wage war on Iraq, then we will be responsible for returning all the terror that we saw on our TV sets almost a year ago to others, and that is about the most unforgivable act I can think of. We will become terrorists, killing innocent men, women, children, elderly, and sick who 1. have nothing to do with our war, 2. can't defend themselves, and most importantly 3. DON'T DESERVE IT.
I have learned from September 11th that intollerance is ignorance and I am smarter than that!
| A Personal War ||Sep 9th. at 3:33:38 am EDT|
|Morgaine Swann (Eastern, KY) ||Age: 41 - Email - Web|
My disillusionment didn't start on 9/11. It started during the 2000 Presidential election, and 9/11 has made it worse. I feel as if the foundations of who we are as a nation are under attack from within and from without. I believe they could have stopped the attacks. I don't believe we are any closer to bringing those truly responsible to justice. And at every turn I feel my basic civil liberties are in danger.
I am disgusted and not a little frightened that the natural wave of Patriotism is being exploited by the radical right.
I am appalled that my government is discouraging dissent and free public discourse.
I am disturbed that every member of congress lacks a basic understanding of the Bill of Rights, as evidenced in their shouting of "under God" in what should be a completely secular Pledge of Allegiance.
I am angered that my President and other members of his cabinet have dared to state that mine is not a "real religion".
I am furious at attempts to turn my government - the most progressive government in the world -into a theocracy.
I am a proud American Witch and nothing and no one is going to change that.
| Look Forward In Hope ||Sep 9th. at 4:23:07 am EDT|
|Annwyn (Christchurch, New Zealand) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Hi from the Other side of the world!
9/11/01 was a day that I was still unemployed, and was up early to scan the employment pages before heading off to a "get a job" training course that the local Work and Income office had insisted I attend. I watched the news reports before being delivered to the door of the building where I was at the course, and I found myself looking skywards at the buildings around it, wondering what it could be like if something similar happened here. I didn't like the idea, and I freely admit I was nervous for what remained of the course (about 10 days). My views were given a shake up then, and have been continually evolving thereafter, with various things closer to home (the death of my younger brother, starting a new job, finding my 'Powers' growing and expanding to name a few) and I find myself looking ahead to what could be/will be if I set myself to it. As experiences happen, I'm learning from them.
Almost a year on, I still occasionally find myself looking at tall buildings - which is a bit unnerving considering the hospital where I now work has an average of 5 floors - nothing in comparison to the WTC and it's neighbours. As the anniversary draws closer, I find myself thinking that it was a terrible thing to happen, but rather than dwelling on the past, the world needs to look to the future - to see what we have learned - if anything - from that day.
I still see violence being met with violence, people being persecuted for their religious beliefs and others being heroes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that what happened was right, but I am saying that crimes against humanity have been occuring on the grounds of religion and race for centuries. And still the world fails to learn from the lessons that we are sent time and again.
My heart and thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, those who are still traumatised by the events and everyone that is attempting to come to terms with 9/11 and it's long-reaching ramifications. But we need to look forward in hope, and make sure that those lost were not in vain....
Blessings and Peace to all at this time.
| I Have Come To Realise One Important Thing... ||Sep 9th. at 7:33:39 am EDT|
|Matt Walton (England, United Kingdom) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Since the 11th of September last year I've come to realise that although their actions were dispicable, those responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center, the one on the Pentagon and the attempt which was brought down by the passengers in Pennsylvania actually do have a point. Their countries and cultures are in many ways oppressed and demonised by the Western world. America, a country with a constitution that proclaims freedom for all - of speech, of religion, of expression - goes directly against this by attempting to impose American values on the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world likes it or not. 9/11 was a reaction to what some people outside America perceive as an American threat to their freedom. An overreaction perhaps, and certainly not the right kind of action to take (killing people is, as far as I can see, never good), but they do have a point.
What I don't see is any acknowledgement from any government in the Western world that perhaps they did something to bring this upon themselves.
What I also don't see is any real progress in the War on Terrorism, or any sense in attacking Iraq. Yes, we know the government there isn't very nice to its citizens, especially the Kurds, but how will we help them by barging in with tanks and missiles? And if Iraq does really have chemical, biological and nuclear weaponry, what happens then? By attacking Iraq, we could give what is tantamount to blanket permission for all terrorist groups to start bombing our cities, not necessarily with just conventional explosives.
Tony Blair, the much-disliked Prime Minister of this grey and gloomy country (it's raining as I write this), has stated that he will support America in action against Iraq no matter what anyone else says. The government appears to agree with him, including, unfortunately, the Opposition. He raises in his support the prospect of nuclear attacks on British cities, using Iraqi nuclear weaponry, if something is not done very soon. But if we do attack Iraq, wouldn't that just encourage them?
I don't have the solutions to the world's problems, but I do have the strongest feeling that attacking Iraq is an idea bound to go wrong.
| Changes Good And Bad ||Sep 9th. at 8:44:03 am EDT|
|Ellen Clunie (Indianapolis IN) ||Age: 33 - Email |
As far as I can tell, things have changed both for the better and for the worse.
On the good side, people are more *aware* of our country and our position in the global community. Some of the most open, caring, supportive actions I've seen in my LIFETIME occurred in the weeks immediately following the attacks.
Unfortunately, most of that is overshadowed by other things. The USA-PATRIOT Act threatens everything our country "supposedly" holds dear. Patriotism has changed from a true spirit of unity into a commercial enterprise. Our government is using these attacks as a way to bully our foreign agendas through so Junior can clean up messes that Senior left when he was president.
However, what it has done for me is to cement my own committment to fighting for the true ideals of my country - freedom, and support and help where it is *truly* needed - and asked for.
I will remember those who died because they lived *here*, and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will remember those who died because they were convinced that a statement needed to be made about our "civilization". And I remember all of us who had to watch these events unfold - and explain them to our children.
| Has It Been A Year??? ||Sep 9th. at 9:06:18 am EDT|
|Corey (Bangor, PA) ||Age: 20 - Email - Web|
Wow... It doesn't seem like a whole years pasted since 9/11. Those horrific images of the WTO "pancaking" floor by floor are still stuck in my head. That day changed the world. In America we can really see the changes. They are happening so subtly and slowely. But I think over time we will see some major changes in certain activities we participate in. Currently the changes are taking place overseas more than here in the U.S. Governments are being changed by our iron fist, certain leaders are "crapping their pants", and some people are enjoying freedom in which they've never had. Although the outcome of our military plans can be good, we are at a crutial point in our existance. This is a time when nuclear holocost can easily happen if we're not careful. But, so far so good.
| Good And Bad ||Sep 9th. at 10:08:23 am EDT|
|Charl (Yaphank, New York) ||Age: 40 - Email |
It's hard to believe that it was just a year ago when I was watching news coverage about a plane hitting one of the towers, a "helicopter crash" at the Pentagon and getting ready for work. I stopped for a moment to see what was going on and distinctly remember seeing another plane fly past the camera. My immediate thought was "wow, I'm surprised they didn't shut down NY air space". Then, the unthinkable...
As the year goes by, I find that both good and bad have come out of the tragedy. The good -- my friends and family never miss an opportunity to say "I love you" just in case it's the last time. I find myself being much gentler with people -- I still have moments of road rage when someone is doing something to endanger people, but overall, life is too short to spend it upset or angry. I also tend to make eye-contact on the subway -- perhaps it began as the feeling that I want to look at someone because they could be the last person I see, but it's developed into a fuller appreciation of my fellow human beings. I've also become more politically active--I've joined the ACLU to name just one example.
Which brings me to the not-so-good things that have come out of this--we are Americans and our country was based on what we as Americans consider basic freedoms. These apply to all Americans, no matter what race, religion or ethnic background. When those freedoms are curtailed, the terrorists win. Then we no longer become free Americans, we become fearful Americans. Don't get me wrong, the additional security is something that should have been in place a long time ago, but when I hear about people being persecuted because they share a religion or ethnicity with a person who has committed a terrible act, well, it takes away from all of us.
There are so many horrible things to remember about 911 -- the terrible things men do to each other in the name of righeousness, the horrendous pain and fear experienced by the deceased and still being experienced by many survivors, the children who lost parents, the parents who lost children...
I'd personally rather remember the day as a day when we saw the best that humanity has to offer--the sacrifices made by so many people both in the Towers and Pentagon and out. I think that we can best honor those memories by remembering what this country is really all about and by remembering to love each other as much as we can today, because tomorrow just may not happen.
| Where I Was, And Where I Am ||Sep 9th. at 10:15:16 am EDT|
|Thunder Mouse (Saint Joseph Missouri) ||Age: 21 - Email |
How has the country changed? I geuss the best place to start that, would be how have I changed. Where I was when I first heard of the attacks, was working in a dusty Lowes store by a Dewalt radio. My first reaction, was to wonder how in the world a plane could possibly hit such huge biuldings. My mind just didnt quite click that it was intentional at first. Partialy, because all I knew was a plane hit the biulding. I thought it was a small lill plane and the guy screwed up somehow and hit it. I walked back to the back to get some water, and saw the smoke on the TV in the back office where a few pepole were watching just as the second plane hit the World trade center. I honestly just about threw up. I realised that things were much worse and much more serious than I had thought. I decided rather than to stand there and watch the smoke, to head back to my department and try to work to get the immage out of my head. Then, an announcemnt came on about the pentagon being hit. That one made me litteraly fall over. I had found out the night before, that my mother who lives in virginia,a millitary intelligence NCO for the Air force was supposed to have a meeting at the pentagon that day. I was about to ask to go home after that, when I realised, that the best thing for me to do, would be to work the rest of the day. If something had happened to my mom, going home wouldnt change it, and I wouldnt get ahold of anyone till later anyway because they would all be at work or school. The rest of the day is a blur. I walked around honestly like a zombi not shure what to do. I walked by a TV that was set up in the appliances section just intime to see the second tower collaps, but it realy didnt fase me at that point. I eventually finnished up my day, and went back to my home. I learned the next day (I was unable to get ahold of my parents because all the lines on the east coast were busy) that her meeting was canceled at the last minute before she left, so she was at home instead of being there. Only one other person in town I feal can even come close to understanding how I feal about this, and thats a friend who was on a grey hound bus in new york at the time. I remember a year ago, I wanted blood and I wanted it now. I remember having nightmares of things I saw on TV that day for quite a while. But, that was then. A year later, I feal, that honestly, verry little has changed in my town. Just about everyone talks about it ofcourse, but other than that, as far as day to day life and how pepole here treet eachother, It hasnt changed much. They still vew it as something that didnt happen here. Something that didnt affect them. Most pepole in my lill town dont pay attention to the news. So alot of them dont even know about all the things going on in the white house, or enough information to form an opinon on the Iraqu situation that is rappedly growing other than to just blow them off the face of the earth and forget about them.
I cant speek for the entier nation. From what I see though, the town I live in has changed little. pepole are still ignorant of the goings on of the world because they refuse to read the news paper. They still dont care about other pepole they see on the street, and they still speed up to run over small animals.
I on the other hand have changed ALOT since Teusday September 11, 2001. Iv become much more tollerant of others opinions and thoughts. Iv become far more supportive of trying to find non violent solutions to situations. I have much more respect for pepole who I dont know anything about rather than seeing other pepole as just part of the back ground. Iv grown up alot. I hope things are different in the rest of the country. I hope they are better.
| 9/11/2001: Cynical, Moi? ||Sep 9th. at 10:24:36 am EDT|
|Durin Ap Iceni (Colchester, Essex, UK) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I can remember exactly what I was doing that day. I was sitting at work doing not much. When the first plane hit we speculated what had caused it..maybe a ILS fault or engine failure.. it hadnt sunk in then. It just felt normal, sad.. but par for the course.
Then the second plane and the deliberate change of course straight into the building. It wasnt a game any more and everyone was stunned.
you ask me if I think anythings changed?
yes and no. people are all a little more scared than they were. They're all wondering why.. even now. Trouble is, the assumption that Bin Laden had planned this is nice and comfortable.. but its also wrong. The only thing al quaida had to do with this was act as a patsy.. a role they've fulfilled adequately.
For the reasons and the stringpullers for this you have to look a lot closer to home. I'll let you make your own decisions tho.
As to the changes. I cant see any good ones to be brutally honest. The US government is clamping down on 'security issues'. Its funny how I could still walk through 3 US airports in november that year.. without being searched once, and when I couldnt provide an address for the person I was visiting, which at stansted in the UK would have gotten you locked up, the soldier at the desk let me walk right through. They arent bothered about that sorta security, the US government wants to be able to clamp down on you all... especially if you arent christian, white, middle class and/or own a Caddy.
You know.. its funny. President Shrub, as a friend refers to him, for the most part has acted like someone for whom a 'room temperature IQ' is an unobtainable mental height. Yet right after 9/11 he suddenly comes all over all eloquent & is praised across the world?... sorry, I for one aint buying.
1. I do think things have changed. and not for the better. freedom has been curtailed drastically or the attempt will be made to make it so. Crass commercialism has gotten the upper hand. pencil pushers have control of things that would never have been given before. This goes for the US & the UK
2. Don't be too quick to condemn the Muslims & al-quaida. Theres more to this than meets the eye.
3. Trust yourself to know whats right or wrong. Dont let government tell you. They tend to subscribe to the "certain point of veiw" theory of 'truth'. namely its their point of view that is the truth.
anyways, rant over
My thoughts are with those who lost family & friends last year
Walk in light
----"I'm a politician, which means when I aint kissing children.. I'm bombing their homes into dust"--- George 'dumbya' Bush
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