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What I remember about September 11, 2001

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

When I woke up that day, I did not know that it would be one of the most memorable days of my entire life. Things proceeded generally for a weekday and high school. Later that morning, I learned that two planes had hit the World Trade Center, and for the rest of that day, my classmates and I watched the news. We also were sent home early. When I got home, my family and I spent the rest of the day watching the news, trying to get our heads around the terrible events of that day and getting in touch with my sister, who just started her law school at the time. We eventually got through to her, knowing she was safe. My parents were greatly relieved, though still in shock, as many at that time were.

When my science teacher told us that we had been attacked, she also made indications that she had expected something like that to happen, a claim that I felt was ridiculous because I do not believe anyone expected the United States to be attacked by foreign terrorists. I think the United States had forgotten that we were just as vulnerable to being attacked by terrorists as any other country is to terrorist attack. I also believe many people thought that if we fought wars overseas, they would never reach the United States because I believe many people thought that the United States was invincible. The only positive thing to come out of September 11 was that the United States was shaken out of its complacency because we then learned that the next it was just as vulnerable as any other country to terrorists.

I also believe that many people’s drive to fight terrorism aggressively has faded along with some of the memories as time has passed. I also think that people thought the threat was over. Just as the adage goes, if you cut off the snake's head, two heads will grow in its place, which is what I think happened when we "cut" Osama bin Laden. What people fail to realize is that Al Qaeda gave birth to many snakes, and we must always be vigilant lest one of those snakes bite us.

I do think the war on terrorism has been largely successful in disrupting terrorist networks, but I do think it is worth noting that we should never stop being vigilant because we don’t know where the next terrorist attack could come from. It took me a long time to even understand that the United States had been caught by surprise. Again, I am satisfied that the United States has been shaken out of its complacency and that we are more prepared than ever before for a terrorist attack. And I think it’s essential that we never forget the lives of those we lost that day because they are the reason more than any other that we started the war on terrorism.

A battle will never truly end because people always wish to make their point through fear. We must always be prepared to fight against that, whether the terrorists are foreign or homegrown. In short, I do believe the war on terrorism has been largely successful in achieving the objectives we set, but we can never afford to be caught off guard, so it's essential we actively be alert. From my memories at school of that day to the families of the victims, we must never forget this day. Feel free to comment on any of your memories of September 11th.

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1 Comment

Jane Butler
Jane Butler
Oct 06, 2021

In the 1950's, not long after WW2 we did worry about being attacked. People built bomb shelters, radios tested warning systems, and kids got under their desks when an alarm went off at school. Years later, after there was no longer a draft, few people enlisted in the military. As time passed it became the job of the military to protect the country while everyone else stayed home and enjoyed the good life. 9/11 showed me that war is not just something that happens somewhere else.

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