As of September 11, 2011, it has been 10 years since September 11th. With no direct ties to any of the thousands of innocent victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the impact that these senseless attacks had on everyday individuals is apparent through stories and memories, some of which are told below. Considered to be the most deadly attack by terrorists on American soil, this devastating tragedy has affected American citizens in more profound ways then most could imagine.
If the terrorist organizations were hoping to divide and conquer, they were instead met with a united front and a willingness to defend our beloved country at all costs. Men and women who had never planned on a military career enlisted by the dozens, all with a desire to help in whatever way they could. The U.S.A. pulled together and displayed patriotism and a love for this country in ways many of us have never witnessed before.
For the last ten years, we have continued this battle against terrorism in an effort to maintain our safety, to ensure the well-being of future generations, and to make sure that all lives lost were not done so in vain. We are a generous country, always willing to help others, however, the future of our country takes top priority, and as long as the terrorists continue their threats, we will continue to defend.
Thank you to all of the service men and women, who with no regard to their own safety, fight every day to protect ours. You and your families have made the ultimate sacrifice, and it has not gone unnoticed. To all of the victims of the September 11th attacks – may you continue to rest in peace. Our country continues to fight every day for you, and we will not rest until justice has been served.
That day, a 5.9 earthquake sent thousands of Washingtonians out into the streets and clogged the Metro stations with people trying to get home. I was trying to get home, too, to my little house in North Arlington. As I walked from the National Museum of Crime and Punishment on 7th and F Streets, I vividly remembered that terrible day, 10 years ago, when I was told to evacuate from my office at 9th and H because planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
At first I could not wrap my head around the events. Then my scalp began to crawl with fear and horror as the first glimmerings of full realization set in. Too scared to attempt the Metro, I made my way on foot through midtown and up through historic Georgetown, aiming for the Key Bridge that would take me into Virginia. The streets were jammed with cars and frightened people trying desperately to reach loved ones in New York and in many other places. A great, black, ominous-looking cloud was hovering to the south, over the Potomac River, as I crossed the bridge. I began to shake. The cloud was from the Pentagon attack.
In a powerful daze that made everything seem surreal and as if I were on the set of a movie depicting an apocalypse, I walked through Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, and the rest of those familiar directional milestones to my house. At some point I passed a woman in a chador, who glanced at me warily. She had nothing to fear from me, actually – I grew up in the Middle East and have nothing against Muslims, and still do not. I vaguely wondered what she was thinking I might do to her. But she soon passed out of sight and out of my shell-shocked mind, which by then had managed to recall that I had lived in Manhattan for 11 years before moving to DC. My mind asked itself, over and over and over, was it really true that jets had been deliberately flown into the Twin Towers? (Oh, that day had started out on the most boring and ordinary fashion, and now the entire world was profoundly unstable and in dreadful disarray.) When I got home I sat down on the sofa and turned on the TV to watch the same clips over and over and over. It had really happened.
-Laura, Editorial Assistant
I was working day shift and had some time to kill before briefing. I went down the hall to get a cup of coffee and catch some of the morning news. When I walked into the room I remember seeing the first WTC building burning. I was shocked and asked someone if that was real. The break room quickly filled up with people; we all watched the WTC burn, but nobody was prepared for what happened next. When I saw that plane crash into the second WTC building my heart sank, and I didn’t know what to think. I knew it wasn’t an accident and I started to wonder if something similar was going to happen closer to home (California)
The captain, who had been watching everything from his office, walked into the break room and ordered all on-duty officers to the briefing room. The brass and sergeants pow-wowed for a bit, all trying to figure out what to do next. Finally, they all walked into the room and the captain said all officers were to hit the street, days off were cancelled, and everyone was working 12 hour shifts (at the time, we worked the normal eight hours a day, five days a week shift) until further notice. For the next 21 days I worked 0600 to 1800, rotating between patrolling the perimeter of LAX airport and patrolling my area.
-Andrew, California Highway Patrol Officer
It was the beginning of the school year, the first year I took Dance for my art and gym credit. My private high school had a small studio for dance classes, and when the attacks started on September 11th I was busy learning basic Pilates moves to help build muscles important in all areas of dance. The thing about the dance studio was that it was cut off from the rest of the campus—we couldn’t hear the announcement over the PA system summoning the rest of the school to an emergency assembly. We finished class oblivious to the crisis, and my friend Eliza and I left to spend our free period in the library, laughing and chatting as we walked. We barely noticed the abandoned wasteland the campus had become until a single teacher, a straggler on his way to the assembly, stopped and stared at us strangely.
He summed up the news as best he could, shouting to us that there was an assembly because planes had crashed into major buildings in multiple areas of the country.
I thought it was a joke, and an odd one—I didn’t get it. Not wanting to seem stupid, I laughed, stopping in mid-breath when he just stared at me. Confused, I followed him to the assembly in silence, where our headmistress was addressing the students and faculty.
Since we were a boarding school on the east coast, many students had close family in New York or DC, and we were told to come to a teacher if we needed help contacting someone, and that classes would be held but not required for the rest of the day. The main purpose of class that day seemed to be to give everyone somewhere to go—we were certainly in no shape to learn anything.
It was during English that a boy in my class stumbled into the room in the middle of the period to announce that the second tower had fallen. Even then it didn’t seem real, and it wasn’t until I went home that afternoon and saw the footage all over the news that I started to realize the extent of what had happened. It was too weird—things like that happen in history books and disaster movies, not an hour up the road from my house.
It’s even weirder now to think it is in the history books. That there are kids I know who weren’t even born when it happened, and can only learn about it in school. I suppose when a historic event happens in our own lifetime, we can never really see it as history.
Jaci – Sophomore in High School