posts 1 - 15 of 24
Boston, US
Posts: 288

Readings and watchings:

This video is a composite of all the key news footage that was produced between 8:30 am and noon on September 11, 2011. It’s a bit long but well worth watching.


What to do in class around the anniversary of September 11th is always a challenge but no more so than now when we are a class in which you were born—most likely—sometime between 2003 and 2005, correct? Your memory of this has to be from later, perhaps from things you heard or saw from family, friends, the media, or in school. Perhaps some of you and your families were directly affected: you lost family members or friends or had extended family/friends affected by what happened that day.

We will spend Monday, September 12th in class reflecting on the significance of 9/11, especially given that it is the 20th anniversary of the event and that the United States has just pulled its troop presence out of Afghanistan. And then we’ll dig a bit deeper.

Part I:

Read or watch the above linked materials. They will at least ensure that we are somewhat on the same page with basic info re September 11, 2001. To be certain, we have witnessed umpteen terrorist or terrorist-linked attacks since, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. But still, September 11 really launched the 21st century in terms of the growth of terrorist attacks on major targets, like the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, etc. What’s happened in the intervening years in Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Istanbul, etc. remind us of the attacks that occurred in this country.

Part II:

After you watch the video and read the story of Jack Grandcolas, who tragically lost his wife and unborn child on 9/11, I’d like you to interview someone very informally. Insofar as you were quite young on 9/11, I ask you to interview an adult who has a clear memory of September 11th—maybe a parent or maybe another adult. Ask them these (among other questions of your invention!):

  • Where were they on 9/11?
  • What do they remember about the day overall as well as the big events of the day?
  • Were they directly affected in some way by what happened?
  • Did they know anyone who was?
  • And ask them as well: how did life/this country/the world change after 9/11?
  • If it was different on September 12, is it still different now?
  • What’s changed? What’s stayed the same?
  • And do they see any relationship between the ongoing political debate in this country and what happened on September 11th?

Note: Take general notes on what your interviewee has to say. We don’t need a transcript. We will all be eager to hear what you discover!

Without disclosing the name of the person you interviewed, briefly share/summarize their story with us. For instructions on how to post, see this doc (but the version in Google classroom)

boston, Ma, US
Posts: 25

20 Years after September 11

Part I:

After viewing the attacks in Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Istanbul, I can see a resemblance in how bad the nation was struck in such a short period of time. In just minutes thousands of people's lives were taken leaving their loved ones desperately. But with that being said, these attacks brought people together in unity for those who were involved and weren't. It shows us how in such awful times people with different backgrounds or political views will stick together for their nation.

Part II:

1. At Faneuil hall in the Gap store

2. Pre School called saying to come to get her kids to make sure they were in a safe home. The fear of not knowing what would come next.

3. A family friend was working near the world trade center at the time so she was worried he had been hurt or even dead.

4. Yes

5. Airport security was stricter and a huge stereotype of that culture came into place because feard them.

6. Society has never gone back to 'normal. Has tonight us to prepare and expect the unexpected.

7. the families that were broken are what changed while the respect for the people we lost has stayed the same.

8. 9/11 triggered a war that was recently 'ended' with troops being withdrawn from Afghanistan. The debate is still going on on weather the president did the right thing.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 24

A Sad Realization But Still Hopeful

The person I interviewed was sitting in the living room preparing for a work day, 35 years old at the time. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and crisp air. They received a call from an acquaintance telling them to turn on the television and look at the news. They saw the first and then second plane hit, stunned and horrified, yet watching it on a small TV reminded them of a really bad Hollywood film. They thought that maybe these terrorists watched a bad movie and were inspired. Later, they found out that a close friend was almost on one of the planes and that many people from Boston were killed as passengers. That made the event hit closer to home. The world was changed forever and it wasn’t as safe as they thought. They felt deeply saddened that they were about to be a parent and had to bring a child into the world with all its violence. A few years later, their coworker revealed that their mother was a victim of the attack and died in the tower. After 9/11 the Patriot Act was passed which allowed the US government to spy on their own citizens in fear of another domestic attack. It allowed people to be locked up without due process if accused of being a terrorist. Higher security measures are now being taken and more taxpayer dollars are spent on security as opposed to education. There is still the fear of dirty bombs. Lots of places around the world have terrorist attacks which we had been avoiding. They sadly realized that terrorist attacks are possible here. Maybe people are addicted to terrorism like the school shootings: there’s this ongoing fascination with terror or it could just be human nature. Their hope is damaged but not completely destroyed. Recounting the event has them feeling frustrated, scared, and angry, but still a glimmer of hope survives. Some controversial things happening in the aftermath is that the government keeps spending billions of dollars on the military for a sense of national security instead of educational needs, etc. Also the government said it was safe to clean up from the wreckage of the attack too soon so that many people got cancer and illnesses without any support from the government for their recovery.

no name
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

20 Years after 9/11

1) she was at work with a patient when a front desk person walked in telling her of the first plane(they didn't have tvs in the office at all)

he was at a university where he works, he was talking to somebody who had just come back from Kuwait after 2 years in the hallway when somebody rushed to tell them the first plane hit. 20 mins later he was watching when the second plane hit in the waiting area tv.

2) She wasn't send home early and the day was filled with patients, and a sort of telephone was happening when she was telling people and people were telling her information. she didn't see any of the news footage until the afternoon and keep rewatching the footage

3) She wasn't directly affect only genuinely shocked by this, but does know friends of friends who were in the building who died sadly.

4)him being middle eastern became extremely cautious when traveling especially because he fit the "profile". Luckily he seemed more 'professional" with a minimal arab accent. He knows many people who were not as lucky being profiled. Before 9/11 he told me months ago when I asked, security in airports was like nothing, somebody bought him a ticket under their name and he used it with no problem. They traveled in October to Australia and the airport was dead silent "you could drop a pin and everybody could hear" with national guard everywhere armed to the teeth with dogs and everything

He says to add that the War on Terror was the best american invention ever because it can be open ended the forever war. Anybody any nation any group or people could targeted all in the name of "democracy"

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

An Outside Perspective

Although she wasn’t directly affected by the horrific event of 9/11 she still gives a perspective that is similar to many people that were more closely affected by this attack on America. She remembers on this date that she was a sophomore sitting in class at West Roxbury High school. She remembers that her teacher told the class of this horrible event and as a school shared a moment of silence.This was the first tragic event that happened in her lifetime and hearing something like that happen was very devastating. She didn’t know anyone that was directly affected but she was able to sympathize with people who were affected personally .

She said that it is pretty obvious that after that day the US changed forever. She felt that there are still a lot of unknown and unanswered questions people have and a sense of uneasiness since this attack happened out of nowhere on a perfectly normal day. No one was expecting this attack to happen and remain on the minds of many for ages. She even compared this to Covid-19 and the whole pandemic with its surprising arrival and how many lives were changed over the year and a half of quarantine. She says that clearly the 9/11 caused chaos and confusion but it also brought a sort of unity in the nation. She ends by saying that to this day people are still mourning and that a person really never forgets tragedy, to which I agree. Daily experiences, especially on this level, sometimes leave unwanted scar.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Post-20 Years after September 11, 2001

The person I decided to interview told me he was at work when this all happened. He got a call from his wife telling him to watch the news as soon as possible. He worked downtown and his work shut down early. He worked in the Prudential and everyone broke out in hysteria because they thought the Prudential would be the next building to be hit, so everyone evacuated. He said he was not able to take the subway home because public transportation was shut down. He wasn't directly affected by these events. He was supposed to go on a trip that weekend and was unable to because flights were shut down as well. He knew a person on one of the flights that died when crashing into World Trade Center because they had both gone to the same college. Lots of security was added everywhere and especially in airports. He also said there was a lot more patriotism in this country and everyone came together to help each other. He said for the next few days everything just stopped. The following days, everyone was proud to be from this country and everyone came together as one. When asked, he stated that pretty much everything has changed since September 11th. He also stated that the is definitely a relationship between politics and September 11th especially with the news surrounding Afghanistan. It was brought up how it seems as though everything is back to square one with discrimination against Muslims or Middle Eastern people because of the Taliban taking over Kabul and everyone fearing for what might happen next.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

Originally posted by hotchocolate on September 13, 2021 17:13

"They saw the first and then second plane hit, stunned and horrified, yet watching it on a small TV reminded them of a really bad Hollywood film. They thought that maybe these terrorists watched a bad movie and were inspired."

Post your response here: I agree that this attack and event seemed like something out of a Hollywood film. No one was expecting the loss of many lives and the destruction of the World Trade Center that day. For many the reality of the event didn't register as quickly as it did for others.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

20 Years after September Eleventh

1) He was in 5th grade at school.

2) He was in school and didn't know what had happened until after school, but he doesn't remember too much because he was pretty young.

3) He was not directly affected. He was however, scared of planes for a while.

4) He didn't know anyone who was directly affected.

5) He says that after the events of 9/11, optimism for peace and the sense of security in the US was shattered, and frivolousness was less prevalent.

6) Life was different on 9/12/2001, compared to before 9/11, but life has definitely changed since then. After 9/11, the focus of the general public shifted to foreign policy. Before 9/11 foreign policy in the US was taken in a very black and white way: the communists vs the non-communists, but after 9/11 the focus shifted to the Middle East, and the US and its general public became very hawkish.

7) Things implemented after 9/11 that have stayed the same are the PATRIOT Act and the willingness to comply with strict TSA rules. Something from before 9/11 that has stayed the same is the (general) approval of Western ideals such as capitalism, freedom, and democracy.

8) He does not see a direct relationship between the ongoing political debate and what happened on September 11th. A lot has changed between September 11th, 2001 and now. Before 9/11, democrats were more anti-war and republicans were more aggressive in their stance on foreign policy, but these views have since flip-flopped after 9/11. The political divide in the US hasn't changed, as it predates 9/11. The tragic events of September 11th, did unify the US in its approval of this post-9/11 approach on foreign policy for a while, until the controversial Iraq War.

Posts: 2

20 years after 9/11

They were at home, in Boston, and they saw it live on the news.They were shocked and couldn’t stop watching the news. They were afraid that Boston would be attacked too, and surprised that the planes left from Boston. Not directly affected. They didn’t even know anyone in New York at the time, and didn’t know anyone directly affected. Terrorism became an everyday discussion and wasn’t something that “couldn’t happen” in Boston. Airport security became much tighter. Sense of safety taken away. Life went back to normal eventually, but they don’t worry about terrorism like they did after it happened. The 20th anniversary makes them think about it more. Their life went on normally for the most part. No one forgets but people aren’t in shock like they were when it happened. They think when people don’t feel a sense of belonging, they get radicalized and they find belonging in radical groups that are trying to manipulate them.
Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 27

20 years after September 11

The person I interviewed was working in Dorchester at The Harbor School as a 24 year old para professional in a sixth grade classroom. She was in Graduate school at the time. She remembers 9/11 being a very scary and sad day. She was in a team meeting and the students were at gym class. As the second plane flew into the second tower, her and the fellow teachers were watching the news on a television. She feels as if she was directly affected as an American citizen because she was feeling unsure about her future and the future of this country. A friend of her family was a local hockey player and scout for the LA Kings who was on one of the flights heading to Los Angelous. She was extremely breath-taken by the news when she found out her neighborhood friend was at extreme risk. In her opinion, the nation was extremely unified by this tragedy. Although sad, she thinks it was actually heartwarming to have everybody on the same side. The world was changed because there was a sense of unity and togetherness; everybody was there for their friends and neighbors for the first time in a while. My interviewee stated that if I asked her, "is it different now?" 5 years ago, she would say that the country is still unified, however in 2021, she feels as if the country is extremely divided and therefore not different in a sense. She feels that on 9/11 people seem to be united, yet on the other 364 days of the year, people continue to be divided by religion, politics, and even families are becoming divided by different political standpoints and ways in which they want the country to be run. Lastly, my interviewee absolutely does see a relationship between the events on 9/11 and this ongoing political debate in this country. She feels that the divide in political parties is at an all time high and that people are taking things to an extreme and not appreciating the different opinions and view of fellow Americans.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

even 20 years later...

My interviewee recalls being in the Dana Farber Institute, working on their experiment in the labs. They weren't aware of the attacks as they were consumed by their data and results, however, they had noticed that their boss and coworkers were distracted by the news that someone had turned on regarding the plane crash. The severity of the issue did not hit them until their father in law had called them. My interviewee's father in law had just arrived in Boston by plane with his granddaughter 3 days prior. With limited English abilities, he was quite confused and called my interviewee in a panic. For the rest of the day, they were just fearful of the numerous planes that were still in the air, as any one had the potential to cause another catastrophe. Although they were not directly affected, they had a mutual friend who was on the plane that crashed into the WTC with his entire family. The changes in airplane security were quite obvious, but my interviewee noted the difference in the American mindset. They never imagined that America could be attacked by a foreign entity, as did the rest of the country and the world. The attack on a major US building and on their honor garnered support for the Afghanistan War, however, many like my interviewee strongly opposed the Iraq war, feeling that it was an unjustified war. Furthermore, the US was wasting money, resources, lives and political willpower on a war that should never have existed. By fighting the Iraq War and being involved in numerous other conflicts, of which many are being debated in current politics, the US lost their international respect. 9/11 was turned into a political tool and viewed as the perpetrator of US abuse, instead of treated with the solemnity that it deserves.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

From the POV of Someone Outside the US

The person I interviewed was in China when the 9/11 attack happened. It was an ordinary day for him, until around 9 PM when his friend called him to turn on the TV. Immediately after seeing the first plane crash into the World Trade Center, he was worried about his relatives who lived in the US. He first called his sister who lived in San Francisco. He was worried for his sister because he heard that there is a possibility a plane might crash into the Golden Gate Bridge. She told him not to be worried because New York is very far from San Francisco. She also told him that students in San Francisco are sent home. The following day at work, everyone in the building he was working at and around him were talking about the US and the attack. From that day on he felt more alert and felt as if something like 9/11 can happen again. As if peace is not always going to be present and that safety isn't always guaranteed. Although he wasn't near the event or knew people that were affected by the event directly, 9/11 has made him feel uneasy since.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

20 Years After September 11

1. She was working at the Boston Globe when 9/11 happened.

2. She remembers seeing everything unfold on live TV, as there were big screens in the room where she was working and everyone was gathered around watching the news. She also remembers being very nervous to take the train home after work that day and spent the rest of the week constantly fearing that something else would happen wherever she went.

3. She wasn't directly affected, but she had worked in a big office building before so she felt some type of sympathy in terms of that.

4. She didn't know anyone who was working at the World Trade Center or anyone who would have been directly involved.

5. She says that people have become more on edge and security has gotten a lot tighter in many places to prevent stuff like this from happening again.

6. Things are more different now compared to the fresh aftermath, and obviously technology has advanced and there are new measures in place to prevent future terrorist attacks.

7. To her, America coming together in times of crisis and danger has stayed the same, and it is unfortunate that it takes something so negative to bring the country together as one. But the way we have carried on and advanced as a society has changed a lot.

8. Partially. She says that she was able to connect the current Afghanistan situation to what happened on 9/11 but not in a detailed way.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

20 Years after September 11, 2001

The person I interviewed was at the Curtis Building, the Department of Labor in Philadelphia. She was new to the job, and had only been working there for three weeks. She remembers that it was such a beautiful and sunny day. She was sitting at her desk when her coworker, Marta, said a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. All the people in her office assumed that this was a freak accident due to pilot error. A little while later Marta came back in to say that another plane hit. Everyone in her unit gathered into the conference room where there was a TV. They opened the news to the Pentagon, and talk of this now being a terrorist attack. Everyone was told to leave because they were afraid cities would be targets and the Curtis Building stood right next to a Federal building. She called her husband at the time, who was also leaving work. So many people were everywhere in Philly. It was a mad rush. Buses and trains were crowded,and she wasn't sure what could happen on any form of transportation. She put her sneakers on and walked to her condo 13 blocks away. When she got home, she and her husband were glued to the TV. She remembered what it felt like to watch the towers fall live and was able to see the people jump from the buildings. Her husband had many friends in New York, so was calling people he did know. They found out later that a very close friend of theirs sister in law was on the flight that left Boston. She remembers this sense of fear and so many unanswered questions about what they were dealing with here. However, there was a sense of unity and patriotism. Everyone had their flags out. The events that took place on September 11th still impact her to this day, but over time she states that she’s been desensitized almost. The feelings aren't as raw as they were 20 years ago when it first happened. She says that 9/11 made her more aware of terrorist groups and the danger they pose, and also the power of religious ideology. A lot of people today believe we shouldn’t have gone to Afghanistan or that we didn't understand what we were getting into. These still remain relevant conflicts considering all of our troops were taken out only a few weeks ago. She also adds that many people were missing from a close friend's wedding shortly after 9/11 because they were afraid to fly out.
South Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

20 year after 9/11

- At apartment in Boston.

- Already out of college and looking to get on the fire department and when the event happened went to pick nephew up from school, left to make sure family(who lives all over the place where ok).

- Yes wanted to help in any way possible, which resulted in joining the military and being deployed.

- Yes "everyone knew someone or knew of someone who was directly affected by the even.

- Usually can hear all the planes in Boston going to and from Logan airport however there was none of that for a while after 9/11, everyone was scared that it could happen again. 9/11 proved that cell phones will never be a fool proof method because messages would deliver late or because cell towers where down when they went back up messages went through to people giving them almost false hope that someone they knew was alive. Airports and many other places where a lot more strict after 9/11as far as security and rules. Troops where sent to the Middle East (including themself and other family members).

-September 12 seemed weird with no airplanes like everyone/everything was holding its breathe, its not as scary or standstill but there where policies put in because of 9/11 which would make it have the same feeling.

- Many policies have changed and many troops where sent to the Middle East to respond to the attack, and now many troops are getting taken out of the Middle East and there weren't nearly as many deaths as there where 10-20 years ago in the Middle East.

- the the attack on the twin towers is what drove the U.S. to get involved in Iraq and Afghanistan and right now their are still many arguments about Americans tribute to the Middle East and weather or not it is time to pull troops out, add more, or remain where we are as more events unfold in what part the country plays in it.

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