Here Is What I Know

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Image from Yahoo (Photo by Det. Greg Semendinger, NYC Police Aviation Unit)

I was one year old on September 11, 2001. I have heard the horror stories of the people who can remember it, and I can claim being alive that day. Today, the New York Times posted an article on Facebook with the excerpt, “Here’s a whole generation of kids who weren’t alive and don’t know what it was like that day, and they’re not going to know the world before 9/11. It wasn’t a perfect world, but it felt like a safer world.” Most of the things I know about 9/11, I have learned from textbooks, from others’ Facebook posts, from my mother’s stories. It occurred to me then that I, in a way, am one of those kids, even though I was alive at the time and have known about that day for as long as I can remember. Here is what I know about 9/11.

  • There were two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, New York City.
  • There were also planes headed for the Pentagon and for the White House, though neither of those planes caused nearly as much destruction as the two flown into the World Trade Center.
  • The passengers on one of the planes may have tried to take the controls back from the terrorists.
  • The President was on Air Force One when he got the news.
  • Before 9/11, you could walk up to the cockpit of some commercial planes.
  • Before 9/11, we didn’t have airport security.
  • My mother let me watch the attack on the news.
  • I didn’t get it.
  • Many after the attack were afraid of putting their children into schools.
  • My mother was scared, too, but she didn’t keep me out of school.
  • My mother put me into preschool instead.
  • That day, 9/11, was the first real terrorist attack on American soil, and one of the first major terrorist attacks in the Western world.
  • That day, 9/11, set into motion a chain of events including the intensive screening and security procedures we now have at all American airports.
  • That day, 9/11, people began to regard all brown people, Muslim or not, with suspicion and fear.
  • Today, fifteen years later, the suspicion of all brown people has decreased, but there is still an enormous amount of Islamophobia in the world.
  • Last year, a sophomore at my high school told one of my teachers that, as a Muslim, she didn’t feel safe at school, and was often bullied for her religious beliefs.
  • That day, 9/11, 3.3 million American Muslims, intentionally or unintentionally, had their First Amendment right to freedom of religion curbed.
  • Fifteen years later, 9/11 is more than another day to remember our heroes and mourn those we lost.
  • Fifteen years later, 9/11 is shaping American politics.
  • The generation of kids who weren’t alive and can’t remember 9/11 are affected every day by something that happened years before they were born.
  • On September 11, 2001, our country was brought together through loss, and our country stood up against terrorism. But on September 11, 2001, our country was also divided in a way that pitted nonwhites against whites, Muslims against non-Muslims, and took away that feeling of safety from millions, if not all, Americans.
  • It is important to remember 9/11. But it is also important to learn from it.
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8 responses to “Here Is What I Know

  1. I was in 8th Grade and remember how security at airports were beefed up to extreme measures soon after. It was nothing like the world had ever seen and can never be forgotten.

    Beautiful thoughts and beautiful post.

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