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freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 246

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.



Assignment:

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)


mango04
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Day That Scarred: 20 Years after September 11, 2001

As my father woke up one morning to teach a leadership and training course for the city of Boston, he had already had a terrible morning. Just after he had woken up, showered, changed, and brushed his teeth, his first wife approached him and told her that she wanted to get a divorce. With his head and judgement now clouded and overwhelmed, he made his way to his meeting located at the James Michael Curley House in Jamaica Plain. In the middle of his meeting he received a call from the Boston mayor’s office informing him that a plane had just hit one of the towers in the World Trade Center. While still trying to process this information, he heard a frantic voice on the other line yell that a second plane had now just hit the second tower. My father then came to a conclusion that this was an attack, and not an accident. He then realized that he was the only one at this meeting that knew of these attacks, and he would have to be the one to tell all of these 50 people from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He went back into the meeting and told them all what had happened and made the executive decision that “today was a day to be with your families”.


When asking my father what is the biggest thing that he thinks of when remembering that horrific day, he answered very quickly with, “the shock”. He goes on to say, “...you always heard of terrorist attacks but up until then there was nothing of that magnitude on home soil”. My father believes that the entire world was in some way affected by the 9/11 attacks, and he recalls hearing that his childhood friend, Mark Bavis was directly affected. Mark Bavis and my father had attended the same elementary school and high school and had grown up playing sports together. Mark was aboard United Airlines flight 175 from Boston when it struck the South Tower.


My father describes the days after 9/11 as “eerie with deafening silence”. My father often tells me that although I don’t always notice it, airplanes make noise that fills in the world’s silence. He recalls the silence from everything, including travel being shut down for days. He remembers the new fear that had grown nationally, the worry of more attacks.


My father described American life before September 11 as having a sense of “untouchable pride,” or the feeling that a terrorist attack of that scale couldn’t possibly be carried out against the U.S. After the attacks, he felt that, as he describes it, cocky feeling diminish quickly. He now has second thoughts before boarding a plane or attending big sporting events, which had never concerned him before.


When asking my father about the immediate changes he witnessed the days after 9/11, he describes unity. “The only thing I can say is that it unified the country for a short time, we were all Americans,” he states.


My father believes that although much has changed in everyday life since the events that took place on 9/11, there are still a few things that linger, like ignorance. He stated “there is still a sense of ignorance to what the real issues were... people still don’t know why or how it happened...what built up to it”. He then went on to say that although he felt America was unified for a limited period of time following 9/11, that unification was quickly broken by a rise of hatred. He connects the time after 9/11 to the spread of COVID-19 in the ways in which minorities were attacked. He believes that the rise of Islamophobia in the U.S. and the rise of racist attacks against Asian Americans in the U.S. are examples of the ignorance that is still unfortunately present in America. Along with @etherealfrog's connection to 9/11 resulting in a distrust in the government, my father too believes that as a result of the fear and frantic search for answers in the aftermath of 9/11, some people began to grow suspicion of the government, leading to conspiracy theories based on no factual information.


To end my interview with my father I asked him simply if he had any words for my generation, that did not live through the events that took place on 9/11. He started by saying, “9/11 is like a scar, every time you look at it you have to remember how you got it and why. You hope to learn from it.” He finished his sentiments with a phrase that I hear him say so often when recalling 9/11, “If 9/11 could teach you anything it would be to always say ‘I love you’ to those that you love because you truly never know if you will see them again”.

etherealfrog
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 11

My father’s experience


On September 11th, 2001, my father woke up to his clock radio for his first day of law school at Northeastern University. As he was leaving, the newscaster was talking about the attacks, but wasn’t really paying attention. He biked to school, and someone asked him if he had heard the news while he was locking his bike. He then went to class, but after about 20 minutes everyone was sent home. No one knew the scale of the attacks, and whether there might be an attack in Boston. He remembers it being very uncertain whether anyone he knew was affected at first, because no one could get through to New York due to everyone trying to call at once. Luckily, no one he knew well was hurt or killed, but he had friends of friends who were, and his Princeton classmate was killed. He believes some of the biggest changes to the world after 9/11 was the fear of terrorism. Before 9/11, people didn’t believe that terrorism was very common, or that it would happen on such a large scale. He also mentioned that after 9/11, the world was united for a short time in memory of the lives lost and in support of the United States, but this unity is no longer present. Security has increased, and people have been illegally arrested because they are suspected to be terrorists for no reason. He noted that there are still people in Guantanamo Bay who were arrested for being suspected of connection to the attacks on 9/11. He thinks there is a direct correlation between 9/11 and the rise of conspiracy theories and distrust of government. After 9/11, people started trying to do their own research on the Internet, even if their findings were not based in fact. This relates to the modern-day Q-anon and to the distrust of the government in terms of the 2020 election, the COVID-19 vaccine, and more.
bluepen19
Posts: 3

My Mother's Memory of 9/11

My mother was alone at home in a relatively new apartment in Boston the day of 9/11. Her husband was at work, a phone call away immediately after the first plane hit. She recalls the day as beautiful and clear skies. Originally hearing of the incident, she turned on the TV and received a call from her husband.

There was initial confusion about the crash, it was believed to be an accident. She reached out to her brother, as they are both from New Jersey, with lots of connections to the New York area, including their parents. They couldn’t reach a lot of family and friends at first which caused momentary panic. She describes a lot of edge between herself and the nation as many watched the TV when the buildings collapsed, and for days after as first responders searched for thousands of bodies.

As the second plane crashed, and the Pentagon was hit, it was clear that this was a terrorist attack. She recalls everyone coming home from work and stopping what they were doing. She was fearful of where these terrorists might hit next, especially living in Boston at the time. Since one (or both) of the planes came from Boston, there was guilt across the city for some time, feeling as though maybe it could have been prevented.

As for what changed after the fact: airport security was tightened, being on alert was naturally commenced, in addition to campaigns such as “See something, say something.” The trauma that came from the event though was definitely emotional, even so in this conversation. She describes the loss of family friends, and the fear for those who worked in and around the building. Taking the subway later in the month was terrifying, and she and her husband canceled flights to a wedding in California because they were too scared to fly.

She stated, “The US lost a lot that day, not just 3000 lives.” There was a newfound awareness that we could be a target on our own home soil, and people would use a commercial airline as a weapon. People looked and felt differently and there was remarkable unity as a country. She recalls Congress singing a patriotic song together and late night TV shows intentionally holding off on jokes for sometime. The word she continuously used to describe herself and the nation was “raw.” Things felt like they would never go back to normal.

Her professional connections to the event felt most significant. First, she used to be a tour guide in New York City for international students visiting the country. Part of the tour brought everyone to the top of the World Trade Center and she was therefore very familiar with the building, even having brought her grandmother there. She worried for coworkers that might have been giving tours that day.

In Boston at the time however, she was teaching English as a second language to international students, and had a class on September 12th. In a raw state of mind herself, she recalls not being ready for what some of her students had to say. Many believed that it was a long time coming for the US to be under attack, almost as though it was deserved from what had built up in years prior. My mom doesn’t consider herself to be exceptionally patriotic but at the time she was nowhere near ready to hear this.

While the unity over a common enemy at the time brought the nation together, she notes the division that we face today. She made connections to the current events in Afghanistan, the divide between the people and the president (referring to George W. Bush being MIA for some time), and the immense racial profiling and racism that developed against Middle Eastern people. Although my mom didn’t vocalize this herself, I find her remembrance of the day to be similar to what @mango04 describes his father to recall. The day has certainly settled as a scar, perhaps a scar that never healed and is still sore to touch. People most definitely lost more than family and friends that day as they feared for their own lives in upcoming years.

bluepen19
Posts: 3

Originally posted by mango04 on September 11, 2021 20:46

As my father woke up one morning to teach a leadership and training course for the city of Boston, he had already had a terrible morning. Just after he had woken up, showered, changed, and brushed his teeth, his first wife approached him and told her that she wanted to get a divorce. With his head and judgement now clouded and overwhelmed, he made his way to his meeting located at the James Michael Curley House in Jamaica Plain. In the middle of his meeting he received a call from the Boston mayor’s office informing him that a plane had just hit one of the towers in the World Trade Center. While still trying to process this information, he heard a frantic voice on the other line yell that a second plane had now just hit the second tower. My father then came to a conclusion that this was an attack, and not an accident. He then realized that he was the only one at this meeting that knew of these attacks, and he would have to be the one to tell all of these 50 people from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He went back into the meeting and told them all what had happened and made the executive decision that “today was a day to be with your families”.


When asking my father what is the biggest thing that he thinks of when remembering that horrific day, he answered very quickly with, “the shock”. He goes on to say, “...you always heard of terrorist attacks but up until then there was nothing of that magnitude on home soil”. My father believes that the entire world was in some way affected by the 9/11 attacks, and he recalls hearing that his childhood friend, Mark Bavis was directly affected. Mark Bavis and my father had attended the same elementary school and high school and had grown up playing sports together. Mark was aboard United Airlines flight 175 from Boston when it struck the South Tower.


My father describes the days after 9/11 as “eerie with deafening silence”. My father often tells me that although I don’t always notice it, airplanes make noise that fills in the world’s silence. He recalls the silence from everything, including travel being shut down for days. He remembers the new fear that had grown nationally, the worry of more attacks.

My father described American life before September 11 as having a sense of “untouchable pride,” or the feeling that a terrorist attack of that scale couldn’t possibly be carried out against the U.S. After the attacks, he felt that, as he describes it, cocky feeling diminish quickly. He now has second thoughts before boarding a plane or attending big sporting events, which had never concerned him before.


When asking my father about the immediate changes he witnessed the days after 9/11, he describes unity. “The only thing I can say is that it unified the country for a short time, we were all Americans,” he states.


My father states that although much has changed in everyday life since the events that took place on 9/11, there are still a few things that linger, like ignorance. He stated “there is still a sense of ignorance to what the real issues were... people still don’t know why or how it happened...what built up to it”. He then went on to say that although he felt America was unified for a limited period of time following 9/11, that unification was quickly broken by a rise of hatred. He connects the time after 9/11 to the spread of COVID-19 in the ways in which minorities were attacked. He believes that the rise of Islamophobia in the U.S. and the rise of racist attacks against Asian Americans in the U.S. are examples of the ignorance that is still unfortunately present in America.


To end my interview with my father I asked him simply if he had any words for my generation, that did not live through the events that took place on 9/11. He started by saying, “9/11 is like a scar, every time you look at it you have to remember how you got it and why. You hope to learn from it.” He finished his sentiments with a phrase that I hear him say so often when recalling 9/11, “If 9/11 could teach you anything it would be to always say ‘I love you’ to those that you love because you truly never know if you will see them again”.

Your father's statement of the country's residents all feeling like Americans definitely resonates with myself, and with what my mother had to describe about the time herself. The unity she describes is unlike any amount of patriotism I have ever felt, and I feel that that is significant coming from a prideful city that embraces a lot of aspects of the "American life." The scars that a lot of our parents are left with are absolutely wounds that can be reopened on these anniversaries, continuous terrorist attacks, and with endless news of Middle Eastern conflicts. I appreciate your father's awareness of the importance of recognizing the love you have for others around you because no future with them is a given.

mango04
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by bluepen19 on September 12, 2021 16:52

My mother was alone at home in a relatively new apartment in Boston the day of 9/11. Her husband was at work, a phone call away immediately after the first plane hit. She recalls the day as beautiful and clear skies. Originally hearing of the incident, she turned on the TV and received a call from her husband.

There was initial confusion about the crash, it was believed to be an accident. She reached out to her brother, as they are both from New Jersey, with lots of connections to the New York area, including their parents. They couldn’t reach a lot of family and friends at first which caused momentary panic. She describes a lot of edge between herself and the nation as many watched the TV when the buildings collapsed, and for days after as first responders searched for thousands of bodies.

As the second plane crashed, and the Pentagon was hit, it was clear that this was a terrorist attack. She recalls everyone coming home from work and stopping what they were doing. She was fearful of where these terrorists might hit next, especially living in Boston at the time. Since one (or both) of the planes came from Boston, there was guilt across the city for some time, feeling as though maybe it could have been prevented.

As for what changed after the fact: airport security was tightened, being on alert was naturally commenced, in addition to campaigns such as “See something, say something.” The trauma that came from the event though was definitely emotional, even so in this conversation. She describes the loss of family friends, and the fear for those who worked in and around the building. Taking the subway later in the month was terrifying, and she and her husband canceled flights to a wedding in California because they were too scared to fly.

She stated, “The US lost a lot that day, not just 3000 lives.” There was a newfound awareness that we could be a target on our own home soil, and people would use a commercial airline as a weapon. People looked and felt differently and there was remarkable unity as a country. She recalls Congress singing a patriotic song together and late night TV shows intentionally holding off on jokes for sometime. The word she continuously used to describe herself and the nation was “raw.” Things felt like they would never go back to normal.

Her professional connections to the event felt most significant. First, she used to be a tour guide in New York City for international students visiting the country. Part of the tour brought everyone to the top of the World Trade Center and she was therefore very familiar with the building, even having brought her grandmother there. She worried for coworkers that might have been giving tours that day.

In Boston at the time however, she was teaching English as a second language to international students, and had a class on September 12th. In a raw state of mind herself, she recalls not being ready for what some of her students had to say. Many believed that it was a long time coming for the US to be under attack, almost as though it was deserved from what had built up in years prior. My mom doesn’t consider herself to be exceptionally patriotic but at the time she was nowhere near ready to hear this.

While the unity over a common enemy at the time brought the nation together, she notes the division that we face today. She made connections to the current events in Afghanistan, the divide between the people and the president (referring to George W. Bush being MIA for some time), and the immense racial profiling and racism that developed against Middle Eastern people. Although my mom didn’t vocalize this herself, I find her remembrance of the day to be similar to what @mango04 describes his father to recall. The day has certainly settled as a scar, perhaps a scar that never healed and is still sore to touch. People most definitely lost more than family and friends that day as they feared for their own lives in upcoming years.

Similar to @bluepen19's mother my father also had many close friends and family living in New York and even working in The World Trade Center as the 9/11 attacks occurred. He recalls the fear that rose within him while trying to get in touch with my uncle who worked in The World Trade Center, but unfortunately could not reach him because cell towers were down. Also similar to @bluepen19's mother's experience, my father recognized that Boston was a likely place for another terrorist attack, so he became quite hesitant to leave the comfort of his house in the aftermath of 9/11. The events that took place on September 11, 2001 made it known to not only Americans, but the entire world, that no country, no matter how patriotic and strong they may seem, is untouchable when it comes to hatred and violence.

runningdog96
Posts: 5

My Parents' Experiences with 9/11

When asked about their experiences with 9/11, both my parents recall the utter shock and disbelief that they felt immediately after hearing about the attacks, as well as in the following days. My father was working at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and my mother at a Pharmacy in the Longwood area in Boston. They both vividly recall hearing about the attacks; my dad was at work, and my mom was on her way. Recalling that not many people had cell phones at that point, they were extremely worried for family members and for each other. Not only that, but throughout my interview with them, they both remember the disbelief that came up upon hearing about the attacks. Similar to @mango04’s father, my mother described her shock that this would happen on American soil. She stated that she had heard about things like this happening in other countries, but could never have imagined it happening here, in the United States. My father then added his disbelief that it occurred so easily. The hijackers had gone to flight school here in the States, and both of my parents expressed their concern that they had been able to go to flight school and take over the planes easily.

After initially hearing about the attacks, everything seemed surreal for both of my parents, but they also made efforts to call my grandfather who was (and continues to) working on an Air Force Base in Rome, New York. He was thankfully ok, but they remained on tight lockdown and with reinforced security for many days after the attacks. This was a major change that my mother noted. My grandfather (her father) had to, and still must, go through extremely heightened security when entering the Base, and when leaving it. Not only that, but both my parents discussed the strengthening of security following the attacks. Just over a week after 9/11, they had to pick up my father’s father and my grandmother from the airport; they had been stuck in Europe, unable to get home due to flights all around the world being grounded. My mom remembers picking them up at their gate and embracing my grandmother. She specifically stated that she had “never been hugged so hard”.

That October after the attacks, both my parents had to fly down to a friend’s wedding. They both remember being almost paralyzed with fear, but also not knowing what to expect, as they had never gone through that much security before. It was both reassuring and jarring. Once they arrived on the plane, my mother describes looking around, nervously, to check who was on the plane. She goes on to describe how she knew that it was wrong, and she never acted on her fear, but because it was so soon after the attacks, it was human nature. Besides the fear felt across the country and the feeling of disbelief, my parents also commented multiple times on the unity felt throughout the country in the months following the attacks. They had never seen so many American flags, and my father stated that “people were actually nice to each other”, commenting on today’s political divide.

When prompted on whether or not they see a relationship between the political debate today and the 9/11 attacks, both of my parents initially said no. However, upon pressing a bit farther, I discovered that they did indeed see a slight relationship. Immediately afterward, Islamophobia increased immensely, along with xenophobia. My father describes that xenophobia has always existed (giving the example of Japanese internment camps), but states that after the 9/11 attacks, it was merely directed towards a new group of people. However, they believe that it has stayed directed towards Muslims; especially Muslims attempting to enter the United States.

As I wrapped up interviewing my parents, my mother noted that the image which was most impactful to her was the hundreds of ambulances and first responders ready at the Towers, but simply waiting for hours, as almost no one was found in time to be rescued. She specifically struggled when describing this to me, along with seeing the plume of smoke that covered the city. Finally, when asked about what changed, my mother said that immediately, everything did. The world came to a stop. However, eventually, it passed, but it is something she’ll never forget.

Bumble Bee
Posts: 10

My Parents’ Memory of 9/11 from the Other Side of the Country

My parents were getting ready for work in their apartment in California. My mother was working at a law firm in San Francisco, and my father was working from home that day as a salesman. They turned on the tv to watch the morning news as they did every day. That’s when they learned of the first plane crash. At first they thought it was a tragic accident like so many Americans believed at the time. Then they watched as the second plane crashed into the other tower.

My parents didn't know what they were supposed to do or how they should act. My mother remembers having a conversation with my dad saying, “Well I guess I’ll go to work.” She recalls that she ended up getting on the train to go into the city. She made it there, but the city was completely shutting down. She spotted her coworker looking confused. Since California is three hours behind New York, it was still quite early in the morning. Her coworker had woken up, gotten ready, and left. She had no idea what had happened. My mother was the one who told her of the news, leaving the woman in shock. Then they both got back on the train and went home.

My parents, like the rest of the country, were glued to their tv trying to make sense of everything for the rest of the day. My father remembered how people weren’t sure how many planes had been hijacked or if more attacks were going to happen. “There could have been another attack, or a lot more attacks, anywhere at any time. We had no idea, and that was one of the scariest things. You just didn’t know,” he stated. One of the most tragic things my father remembers was the people who jumped out of the towers because they were trapped and couldn’t take the intense heat and smoke.

My parents said that because they were out west they actually felt a little disconnected from the events. Now that my parents live in Boston they know many people who lost loved ones on 9/11. One of their friends had a close friend who was a flight attendant on the plane that left from Logan Airport. Neither of my parents knew anyone personally who died on that day.

When I asked them what changed after, they mentioned the increased security in the country, especially at airports, like @etherealfrog talked about in their post. “When you go to the airports and stadiums it was never like that before,” my mother recalled. Obviously there was a lot of racial profiling. Something my mother noticed working at a company that helped people get work visas was that her job slowed down a lot because a lot of her clients weren’t allowed to come over to the US. The inner fear and anxiety of when could it happen again is something that has stuck with my mother to this day. A different take they also had was that it brought their generation together like never before. My father says that before 9/11 their generation was known as the one that hadn’t lived through any wars or a big crisis. This was a defining event for them and an event he thinks they will be defined by in the future.

My parents had never talked about their experience during 9/11 so having this talk was very eye opening. It made everything seem so much more real to me.

Nightshade
Posts: 10

My Father's Thoughts on 9/11 and its Impact

My father often explains the effectiveness of the most humane solutions that are often the most overlooked. When I asked him about his experience with 9/11, he gave a very short explanation about his own experience that day. He explained that it was just another normal day. He was at his previous home, working in his home office in the basement, when his friend called him from Connecticut to tell him what had happened. They flew planes into the World Trade Center.

He went outside, where his other friend was building the retainer wall in front of his house. His friend was religious, and led a prayer for those in New York.

My dad’s friend’s daughter was there near the Trade Center. She ran away, and she was okay. Her family often took trips to Israel, so she was used to terrorism. He said it would have affected others in a much different way.

His wife’s friend was there too. He was also safe, but he realized from that experience that he was wasting his life. He joined a computer dating site and found his now wife.

The following days, my dad noticed how the planes from the sky had disappeared. As more and more information came in about what happened, my dad came to a unique conclusion. He labeled the terrorists as “juvenile delinquents with big equipment.” This might seem like an understatement -- that’s what it strikes me as, but he went on to explain that they were people who didn’t know right from wrong, like troubled youth or very young children. He called them “punks.” Again, an understatement. He said that anyone, no matter how much control they have, who uses violence to get what they want are punks. He said in a very serious tone that we should get these people genuine help and teach them that treating people this way is unacceptable.

Dad said that he thought the right thing to do would be to do a police investigation, arrest those involved, and not give them anymore attention, because that’s what they wanted. He explained the basics of the U.S. involvement with Afghanistan and how 9/11 affected it. He was upset that the U.S. government used 9/11 as an excuse to get involved in international war and cause more death and pain. He went into depth about examples in history where violence only made things worse.

He said that if America had witnessed 9/11 and, like mango04’s father advised, learned from it and decided that they would never let anyone kill innocent people ever again, in the U.S. or any other country, it would have changed the world. Instead they decided to create more violence in the world. He said, “To a species like ours, it’s counter-intuitive that violence is a dead end. We’re primates and violence is part of the primate world. To get beyond that, to get past that is a real achievement and I wish that for us.”

One thing I should mention is that his first daughter was born 1 week after 9/11. When I asked dad how he felt about this, he quoted Carl Sandburg, saying, “A child is God’s opinion that life should go on.”

Nightshade
Posts: 10

Originally posted by Bumble Bee on September 13, 2021 18:14

My parents were getting ready for work in their apartment in California. My mother was working at a law firm in San Francisco, and my father was working from home that day as a salesman. They turned on the tv to watch the morning news as they did every day. That’s when they learned of the first plane crash. At first they thought it was a tragic accident like so many Americans believed at the time. Then they watched as the second plane crashed into the other tower.

My parents didn't know what they were supposed to do or how they should act. My mother remembers having a conversation with my dad saying, “Well I guess I’ll go to work.” She recalls that she ended up getting on the train to go into the city. She made it there, but the city was completely shutting down. She spotted her coworker looking confused. Since California is three hours behind New York, it was still quite early in the morning. Her coworker had woken up, gotten ready, and left. She had no idea what had happened. My mother was the one who told her of the news, leaving the woman in shock. Then they both got back on the train and went home.

My parents, like the rest of the country, were glued to their tv trying to make sense of everything for the rest of the day. My father remembered how people weren’t sure how many planes had been hijacked or if more attacks were going to happen. “There could have been another attack, or a lot more attacks, anywhere at any time. We had no idea, and that was one of the scariest things. You just didn’t know,” he stated. One of the most tragic things my father remembers was the people who jumped out of the towers because they were trapped and couldn’t take the intense heat and smoke.

My parents said that because they were out west they actually felt a little disconnected from the events. Now that my parents live in Boston they know many people who lost loved ones on 9/11. One of their friends had a close friend who was a flight attendant on the plane that left from Logan Airport. Neither of my parents knew anyone personally who died on that day.

When I asked them what changed after, they mentioned the increased security in the country, especially at airports, like @etherealfrog talked about in their post. “When you go to the airports and stadiums it was never like that before,” my mother recalled. Obviously there was a lot of racial profiling. Something my mother noticed working at a company that helped people get work visas was that her job slowed down a lot because a lot of her clients weren’t allowed to come over to the US. The inner fear and anxiety of when could it happen again is something that has stuck with my mother to this day. A different take they also had was that it brought their generation together like never before. My father says that before 9/11 their generation was known as the one that hadn’t lived through any wars or a big crisis. This was a defining event for them and an event he thinks they will be defined by in the future.

My parents had never talked about their experience during 9/11 so having this talk was very eye opening. It made everything seem so much more real to me.

My father also didn't know anyone who passed away. I relate to you that talking with my dad about this opened my eyes to the wide scope of people it affected -- it affected everyone. I had heard my mom's story before but I don't think I ever talked to my dad about what 9/11 meant to him. I regret not having done it sooner.

turtle17
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

My Mother's Remembrance of 9/11

Even before I asked her about it again today, I have never forgotten the story my mom tells me of what she experienced on September 11th, 2001. It took place at her previous office and job, and that Tuesday she had an extremely important focus group to lead. She was super stressed about the whole event, she used to not like leading focus groups, and because she had never met half of the people in the room before, the anxiety she felt was high. After about 5 minutes after starting, her boss, a man who she is still close friends with, ran into the room. Because he knew how she was feeling about this meeting, my mother was annoyed that he just interrupted without caring at all, and wanted him to leave. He then told everyone that a plane had crashed into the First Tower. Now my mom, who was annoyed at the action of interruption, and therefore her emotions were somewhat clouded, didn't really pay much attention to the statement she had heard, and was more frustrated with her boss. However, to try and resume the focus group as quickly as possibly, she announced they would watch the news for five minutes, and then return back to work. Those five minutes quickly turned into multiple hours, where they watched the second plane crash into the second tower live. My grandfather was also visiting Boston at this time, he had to attend a meeting for his work at the John Hancock building. When my mother became aware of the gravity of the situation, she quickly became frightened for the safety of her father. If the planes were leaving from Boston, was it possible that Boston's tallest building could be at risk for danger? As we know today, there was no specific damage done in Boston other than the mental aftermath and trauma many people dealt with. Nevertheless, my mother doesn't forget the fear she experience not knowing about the state of her dad's safety. She told me today that I live in a different world than she did before the attack. A world where there is a sense of normalcy when it comes to the threat of attacks within the country, especially after experiencing one so close to home like the Boston Marathon Bombing. But she also knows that the treatment of religious groups like Muslim will never be the same after that day, something that I myself am so used to seeing within society. My mother expresses she will never forget what she felt on 9/11, and I believe I will never forget the story she has told me about it.

gato927
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 13

My Mother's Perspective of 9/11

Originally posted by freemanjud on September 11, 2021 14:05

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.



Assignment:

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)


It was a Tuesday and my mother went to work. It was a sunny September morning. Her boss had gone to Russia to adopt his son, so she was in the office with this man, named Keith. Their offices were next to each other, and around 9 a.m. he yelled, “Oh my god! A plane just hit the World Trade Center!” A couple months earlier my father had started working at his job in the Seaport. "My first thought was I need to call him. I called him and immediately asked if he was okay. He responded 'Umm, yeah. Why?' I told him that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center, and he was like 'What?'" A few minutes later they found out that the planes had hit the World Trade Center in New York City, not in Boston. They watched on television as the second plane hit the second tower. "It was awful. There were people running everywhere trying to get away. People jumping out of the buildings. It was awful.” She didn’t leave though. She sat watching the television as the towers fell. My grandmother was away in Colorado for work. Like the rest of America, she had heard exactly what happened, and was unable to board the plane because of airport restrictions. She had to drive back to Boston with her coworker, and never flew on a plane the same way again.

One thing that had changed after September 11 was airport security. Airports added new restrictions on travel, domestic and international. “Another thing I noticed that changed was the patriotism in the United States. No one cared who you were at that moment because you were an American.” Another thing that stood out to me in 2001 was that there were no planes flying. The sky was silent. Now in 2021 there are planes, but around that time it was silent. Since 2001, some things have changed like airports and patriotism in the country. But most things stayed the same. People still don’t agree on what should happen.” Around the time of 9/11, many people wanted to go to war, and if you didn’t want to go to war you were seen as un-American. Today in 2021, we can still see a divided country of people who don’t agree on what should be done for the good of the country.


giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

My Dad's 9/11 Story

On the day of 9/11, my dad was in a courthouse in Providence, Rhode Island. He was working as a clerk for a federal judge there. On 9/11, it was a regular day, not a cloud in the sky. That day at the courthouse was a jury selection day, so he was helping with that. The, his wife called him suddenly to tell him to turn on the news, two planes had hit the World Trade Center. So he and the rest of the people there, including the jurors, turned on the news and watched, transfixed, at the TV, where The Twin Tower were billowing smoke everywhere.The true shock came however, as they all watched the TV, when the first tower collapsed. And then the second one.

My dad's college roommate searched all day for his brother, and finally found him in the haze. He had been in the first tower, but managed to make it out. Also, two of his high school classmates died in 9/11, as did seven people from his college. He wasn't close to anyone lost in the tragedy, but he knew people who were.

My dad says that the main way this country and the atmosphere changed was the way we immediately entered two different decades long wars. Security was so much tighter, and remains that way even today, in places all over. Also, directly after 9/11, the country was very united, but soon it had become even more divided than it has ever been, due to many things, one of them being the wars. My dad says about the ongoing political debate that relates to 9/11 is that some people still want to fight and end terrorism altogether, and some think our resources are better off somewhere else.

hisoka
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

My Uncle's thoughts on the 9/11 Attack

It was 9:30 in the morning as my uncle was at work in the financial district in Boston. It was a lovely clear sky day. He had gotten there earlier than most of his other colleagues as he had a meeting with an executive and a lawyer so there weren't that many people in the building. He turned on the TV just in time to witness the second plane crash into the towers on live tv. He immediately knew something was wrong. He could remember everything that happened in that room clearly. His boss started to cry when she saw people jumping out of the windows and the executive whom he had his meeting with was calling her husband to tell him she loved him and her child. They were all terrified. The kind of building the Twin Towers were I.M.PEI buildings which was the same kind of building the Hancock tower is, so they didn’t know if it would be next. Because of the panic they thought that an illegally parked van outside the building could possibly be a bomb. The executive later quit that week because she was terrified of what would happen to her. They believed that financial buildings would continue to be attacked. They didn’t know what was going on. Everything was in a panic.

Most of the employees weren’t in to work yet since most of the work didn’t come in till 10 because that is when the stock market closes, so when his boss decided to close work for the day and send everyone home early it was a ghost town outside. Boston had been completely shut down since one of the planes had come from Boston. There were no trains, no buses, and no cars on the roads so he had to walk back home. And during that time of year there were always people walking around with their dogs or going from place to place but there was no one. On the whole walk home he only saw three people.

Life changed by the US invading Iran and starting the war against terror which was a great effect against the country and the culture and was also a misguided war.What was different on the 12th is still different to this day, and it is much more relevant now that Biden pulled the troops out of Afghanistan and the Taliban has taken over. When this happened he immediately thought back to 9/11 and how he felt much safer with the troops still there.

Something that has changed was the towers being gone and then replaced, but more important than that is people seeing just how much that part of the world hates the US, their national identity has changed drastically. But something that hasn’t changed is the racism and xenophobia and the ignorance to other cultures is still very much here. The US hasn’t progressed much since the attack and the people who are making important decisions for the US are still ignorant themselves when they shouldn’t be.

dancingsnail
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

My father's recollection of 9/11

On September 11, 2001, my father was starting his medical career as an intern at the V.A. hospital in West Roxbury. Dr. MT, the senior resident, led his team, my father’s job was to present the patient and come up with a plan for care. For the entire day, he would work in the medical intensive care unit surrounded by veterans who were intubated or too sick to know what would happen that day. Since most of the patients were intubated the nurses rounding on the patients would turn on their channels, usually a talk show or morning show. While my father was rounding he would catch glimpses of the TV and realized something was happening in New York, but he wasn’t sure what. After the nurses finished their rounds they watched the news and my father was able to catch snippets from the nurses’ discussion of what happened. He remembers watching a replay of the towers falling while he was rounding, but he said it didn’t register until he finished his rounds. He called my mom who told him that her best friend saw it all happen from her window and she listened to her friend’s screams. She was scared since she couldn’t reach her family from New Jersey.


While my father acknowledged that 9/11 created a sense of unity among the American people, he says quickly faded as people became complacent again. When I asked my father how the country changed he said there was a loss of innocence. The U.S. realized they weren’t untouchable and misdirected anger from the government led to attacks on other countries in an imprecise way. 9/11 gave the government an excuse to wage war without a precise goal or mission, creating another generation of wounded veterans just like the patients he saw the day 9/11 occurred. The government became more tolerant of trying to win at any cost including the torture of certain individuals. My father also said that 9/11 exposed racism that already existed and caused a large group of Americans to live in fear. 9/11 spurred anti-immigrant sentiments and a fear of the different, the fear of anyone who was foreign and nonwhite. These sentiments continue to influence our politics today.

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