Understanding America after 9/11


Is your life different today because of September 11?

From August 26th, 2002 to September 15, 2002, visitors to this Web site responded to the question "As you look at your life today, is it different because of September 11?" Combined their answers create a thoughtful and often surprising online chronicle reflecting the impact of September 11, 2001.

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Denial is no longer a luxury I can claim. Now I know that our nation is vulnerable. My grandchildren are vulnerable. All of us are. Since September 11, I have observed ways of thinking and doing that I do not understand. Such rageful violence against strangers is almost beyond comprehension. It is an altogether new kind of war. Blame is useless. How can we heal all of this? —Barbara Miller, Eagan, MN

I'm not sure my life has changed much on the surface as a result of September 11. I am fortunate not to have lost a loved one in the attacks, and this affords me a bit of distance from the tragedy. But although my day-to-day life has not changed dramatically, I feel that I look at things differently now. After getting past the initial shock, anger, and sadness, what remains is a renewed love for life, and a heightened sense of compassion and tolerance. And perhaps those are the best things one could hope for in light of it all. —Caryn Dubelko, Dumfries, VA

I know my life is different, though I'm not always sure quite how. I know that I am more sensitive to stress around me; angry people, inconsiderate people, who previously just annoyed me now frighten me. I feel a strong need to create a safe space around myself, to withdraw. I have become more environmentally active, because I believe that if we could all "walk in beauty," as the Navajo say, there would be no evil.

I'm much more susceptible to feelings of hopelessness, the inability to make a difference, to make the world work for everyone. But I am also even more inspired by the goodness in people, by their commitment and love when they give all they can for others and the world. I feel more vulnerable now, but vulnerable to love as well as to fear. —Elisabeth Flaum, Pasadena, CA

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Photo Above: Margaret DeNeergaard, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, September 11, 2001, Documentary Project Collection

  Major funding for Understanding America after 9/11 is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

UnderstandingAmerica.org is comprised of the collective work of public radio stations, producers and networks around the world. Copyright to individual programs is held by the producing entity. All other copyrights are held by Minnesota Public Radio, 2002. All right reserved.