My interviewer was at his job working when he heard about the 9/11, and he remembers how lovely of a day it was. He took public transportation to work, and he remembers being stunned when he heard it. Having grown up with the aftermath of the cultural revolution, he was shocked, bit it almost didn't seem real. He wasn't directly affected, as no one close to him had been impacted severely by it. However, he thought that the country after 9/11 became much more paranoid and biased, leading to an othering of many immigrants to the US. This change is something that he believes still exists today, as Americans are much more quick to be biased against other minorities. He believes that the change helped the rise of Trump, as well as the Islamophobia still visible today. Although he wasn't directly impacted, he believes that the entire country's views were changed by that single major event, and although it is still somewhat similar to America pre-9/11, there are so many noticeable changes, especially in politics and the portrayal of current events, that show the change.
My mom was at work when the planes hit. She was working up in Beverley at the time and, like many, noticed what a beautiful day it was. The sky was a bright blue and there wasn't a cloud in sight, which is why her first reaction when she heard the news was to think how could someone accidentally hit the towers on such a clear day? She assumed it was an accident because she couldn't really comprehend how someone could be driven to do such a thing to thousands of innocent people, and when she heard that it was on purpose, she was shocked and horrified. There was panic and confusion mixed with fear and uncertainty. Uncertainty not just about what would happen next, but the fate of the country after the attacks. My mom did not anyone personally affected by the attacks, however my dad had a few colleagues on the planes. They watched the footage together later that day, and they both agreed that it was one of the most disturbing things they have ever watched. In the immediate aftermath, everything was shut down: work, schools, travel. Planes were grounded and bridges were shut down, so my mom had no way of getting back into the city. She was alone at her office and emailed all of her friends in New York asking if they were okay. Thankfully, they all responded. In the following years, airport security was tightened greatly and our relationship with the Middle East (not just Afghanistan) was forever altered. She said she felt that her sense of safety and ability to be vulnerable would never be the same again, and she still thinks of the videos when she travels. There was a general fear that international enemies would continue to take advantage of our freedoms, particularly our freedom of movement, and many were scared to board planes for months and even years. Our recent withdrawal from Afghanistan has caused the same questions to arise that did 20 years ago about interventionism in general and how far our country is willing to go to defend itself and its freedoms.
Originally posted by Yiddeon on September 13, 2021 20:58
My interviewee was working as a physical therapist in a school at the time of the attacks. She was then at Mamaroneck High school,which is about thirty five minutes outside the city by train or car. She was on break with the rest of the teachers without classes watching the planes hit. Parents started to come to the school to pick up there kids and there was general confusion. She was asked to go to an Elementary school nearby and talk with the kids there about what had just happened. She then went to the pre school where there was a teacher that she was friends with. This teacher had a stepsonson that worked in the towers who had unfortunately died. She then went home in Larchmont, which is a town over.
September twelfth was eerie with held breath and eyes glued to the news trying to learn as much as she and everyone else could. There were also many people that were calling each other trying to learn that friends and family was safe. She said that she considered herself lucky for how detached she was from it personally. The closest person was the teacher to lose her stepson as I mentioned before.
She knows people that worked in the city that just ran home all the way from the city. There was so much shock and fear that they ran all the way home not stopping until they were out of the city and in Larchmont. In a weird way it brought the town together directly after the attacks. There was a group that formed that supported the families that had lost people.
She went in to the city with her Husband to try and help them move on. She thought that it was important to move past it and not live in fear. A few months after the attack she visited the wreckage. It was an incredibly powerful moment and she has since visited the monuments in the towers places.
After she went into the city and joined a march to fight going to war in Iraq. She said that the country was brought together but there was still disagreements about going to war. She described it as similar to the attack at the capitol on January sixth. The main difference being that in that situation it pulled the country apart and in this it brought it together.
My interviewer also noted the eerie silence the days after 9/11 and compared almost to the silence after the marathon bombing. I think it's interesting how she said it pulled the country apart and brought it together, and that there were still disagreements about war but there was a sense of unity overall for a bit afterward. I think one example of that is the album that came out right after 9/11 called "The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen, which all of the adults I've talked to 9/11 about remember as a piece of work that brought them together and is meaningful to them regardless of whether or not they actually like that type of music.
20 Year After 9/11
My interviewee was working at Harvard in the audit room, in Harvard Square. She said that she remembers everything so vividly. Every morning she had CNN open on her computer, and that morning the news title flashed on her screen, and it said that there had been an accident at the World Trade Center. The internet crashed from so many people trying to see what happened at once, but she still had the news open when the second plane hit, which she said that at the time was the most jarring thing she had ever seen. Later, when the buildings collapsed, she was even more horrified. At the beginning, they didn’t know that this wasn’t an accident, but then as the day went on after witnessing the second plane crash, and after hearing about the other two planes, it became clear that this was intentional. Everyone was sent home, and she spent the rest of the day glued to the TV trying to piece together what had happened. At the time she lived near the airport, and she remembers so vividly the silence of that day, with everyone staying inside, and all planes grounded
She knew of a handful of people on the plane, but only directly knew one person, a coworker. However her siblings and some cousins all worked in New York at the time, and they were all safe, but the confusion of not knowing if they were for a long time was incredibly worrying. Another coworker of hers was very close with the coworker that they knew on the plane, and was devastated by the news that she had died.
Later, they were at a soccer game when the invasion of Afghanistan was announced.She remembers feeling so sad for America, and she noted that in hindsight, they really knew nothing of what was going on. She says that travel completely changed, that before 9/11 getting on a plane was so easy- you only needed a ticket to know where your seat was. Another change that she noted was the increased awareness of terrorist attacks, she said that it felt like information surrounding these events was brought front and center.
She thinks that the world is still very different. The level of islamophobia in this country is extremely high.
Especially right now, with the troops being pulled out of Afghanistan, that same feeling of worry and not knowing what really is going on is coming back. It isn't quite fear, she says, but the worry of not knowing what comes next, not necessarily just here, but on a global scale as well.
Originally posted by caramel washington on September 13, 2021 21:29
The person I interviewed was at their office in downtown Boston at the time of the attacks. They had just gotten engaged the day before, and were super excited to share the news with friends and family. When they first heard about the news, they called their fiance, who was still hoping to go ring shopping later that day, because they simply were not aware of the seriousness of the event.
My interviewee notes that it didn’t feel like one event, it felt like a series of events, which made it all the more scary. First one plane crashed into the towers, then another plane crashed into the other tower, then one tower fell and then another tower fell and at that time no one understood why the towers had fallen and they assumed that there had been bombs in the bottoms of both towers which made the whole situation feel even more out of control. There were also a series of anthrax poisonings going on at the time which were all over the news, and since no one knew where they were coming from, it really felt like everything was kind of falling apart. My interviewee also remembers their brother actually slept through it, and he woke up after both towers had fallen, so his perception was a little different because he saw it as one event, not four.
In terms of the political situation at the time, my interviewee, like those interviewed by no-one and blue terrier, said that it seemed like the country briefly gained a sense of unity. They also remember feeling like the leaders at the time, George W. Bush and Rudy Guliani (who my interviewee describes as a f*cking nutter) were saying all the right things, about coming together, not fearing our Muslim neighbors, and blaming the people but not their culture. Even the invasion of Afghanistan felt like the right thing to do at that time to almost everyone. Somewhat naively, most Americans thought that we still had the power to change other countries for the better.
Unlike dollarcoffee and yiddeon, my interviewee had no direct connection to the victims of the event, but they did have a friend from college who lived in an apartment that looked out on the world trade centers, and if his schedule had been different that day he would have been walking through the area when the planes hit. It had an enormous impact on this friend just to be in that proximity, and it made him come to terms with his own mortality, and rethink his whole life. Shortly after, he quit his job and moved onto a boat.
My interviewee noted something similar about the progression of the events. They all unfolded gradually throughout the day of September 11th, and the whole country felt like it was spiraling out of control.
20 Years After 9/11 Discussion
On September 11th, my mother was teaching in her classroom. It was one of the first days of the new school year, and she was teaching her new kindergartners the classroom routines. When the planes hit the tower no one knew exactly what happened. The administration put the school into lockdown and contacted parents giving them the option to pick up their children while they awaited more information. As the day passed more and more information about the attack surface. The teachers were passing information to each other as a little bit was released during the day, while parents came by and picked up their kids from school. One thing about that day that my mother still remembers is how quiet it was. Usually, the city was extremely loud with planes, helicopters, and people bustling around, but at that point, it was extremely quiet as all the flights were grounded and everyone was hiding in their homes. As the day passed, my mother's family couldn't get in touch with one of her cousins. They knew that she worked at the World Trade Center complex but they didn't know which building she was in or if she was able to evacuate. It wasn't until late at night when the cousin was finally able to find a cellphone and tell her parents that she was okay and safe. After 9/11 the country became very violent and islamophobic. The day after the attacks, people became scared and unhinged, that they began to attack innocent Muslims across the country. The country also went to war extremely fast, sending CIA and military a month after the attacks into Afghanistan to get the terrorists. In my mother's opinion, she believes that the United States is still extremely aggressive and brutal internationally. In addition, she also thinks that the country is still divisive and racist to the poor innocent Muslims.