An online chronicle reflecting the impact of September 11.
My employer of 30 years decided to eliminate my job and [that of] 14,000 other employees across the nation. I lost my job on the 30th of September, 2001. At age 54, the emotional strain and insecurity has been devastating to me personally. —Edward Ey, Claremont, CA
I am now very aware that many people in the world hate us. Justified or not, we should use 9/11 to begin to find out why and to try to adopt policies that will undo the hate. — John Baird, Oak Park Heights, MN
Of course, I'm vulnerable and less trusting. I watch the news less. I'm tired of bad news. But on the other hand, I hear more—sounds are different. Planes overhead make me anxious now. It heightened my sensitivity to sound, before I never really heard the airplanes. When they all stopped flying I couldn't believe how much I blocked out until it wasn't there. Now everyday I am reminded —Mary Larson, St. Paul, MN
My life has changed a lot at work. A background check needed to be done on me, and a daily check of my car for bombs and bags coming on and leaving the premises are checked. I watch the news all the time, checking news Web pages throughout the day, and [while] watching TV at night I flip it to news from time to time. I've also prewritten a final letter to my family and friends if in the event I'm killed in some incident. I am willing to support our government anyway I can to defend us from these kind of misguided zealots. —Carey Asmundson, Covina, CA
Certainly—I moved out of New York after witnessing the attacks there. But I am furious about the equation of these events with issues of patriotism. We were not attacked because we have ideals of freedom; we were attacked because we have made some terrible geopolitical decisions in the Middle East. When can we stop this navel-gazing over our alleged innocence and turn the focus to an honest assessment of what America has been doing throughout the world for the last 50 years or more? Please spare me all these pious special reports and reflections! I'm going to be media-free on September 11, because this sanctimoniousness is just all too sickening. —Timothy Mennel, Minneapolis, MN
I didn't used to be patriotic. I love America and I'm so proud to live here. No terrorist can change that. The world will never be the same. We relate with each other now. —Emily McArthur, Richmond, VA
My wife, who had always been very happy, committed suicide on Jan. 2, 2002. I saw that she was very depressed following 9/11 and she never got over it. I know that suicide is a complicated thing, but I can't help feeling like she would be alive today but for 9/11. —Ron Brown, Long Beach, CA
I watch TV news less, and when I do watch, it is with a much more jaundiced eye. I am also hyper-aware of jingoistic language use. If I hear the phrase "Axis of Evil" one more time (with no accompanying explanation of why so-and-so is "evil"), I will scream! It also seems as if the word "terrorist" has become way overused, it's now become almost a code word for "someone our administration doesn't like." —T.L. Hoganson, Minneapolis, MN
I can't tune out anymore. I can't just be content in my own world with my own family. I need to know more of what is going on around me. I find myself listening to and watching the news more. I do not know who is at the top of the country music charts anymore. It doesn't seem to matter. I actually became a member of public radio which is something my parents always did, not me. For me, the apathy my generation has grown up with is gone. I care more for everyone now. —Nora Holland, Cold Spring, MN
I feel we are all more vulnerable to terrorism, and I have no faith that the present administration has the intelligence and ability to keep us safe. —Barbara Buehl, Eden Prairie, MN
September 11, 2001 irrevocably changed my life. On September 10, my life was different. I, like I assume most in our country, felt safe about our lives, and went along in a kind of fog, the troubles of the world largely ignored and unreported to us. On the 11th, my whole world changed. Suddenly, news that I usually avoided now dominated my television. My world was opened up before me, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity. I had thus began to listen to NPR on a regular basis for news and opinions, and have since become not only a regular NPR listener and contributor, but also a person more interested in the world around me. September 11 was not only a tragic event, it was an eye-opening event for what I hope is many of us. —Brian Rubin, Los Angeles, CA
I fear that the government, having been given such leeway to attack terrorism and asking for more, is in danger of becoming a fascist state, monitoring every activity of the people and punishing those activities which are disapproved of. Also, many of the attitudes of the American people have changed due to the attacks. Jingoistic, mindless nationalism is passed off as patriotism, while any criticism of the nation is considered treason. One thing that has not changed, however, is the exploitative nature of businesses, which have flocked to the "Patriot" movement to sell items, adorning every possible item with American flags so that the people can "show their patriotism." —Darryl Aoki, Long Beach, CA
My life was changed dramatically that day because I almost lost my sister, who only lived a couple miles away but was visiting her boyfriend at work—two doors down from the first building that came crashing down. That whole week at school we watched it on TV and it was too devastating for me. I am just glad that she and her boyfriend are OK, because I love my sister. —Wendy Hamm, Weedsport, NY
I have become far more aware of the "price of freedom" and the vulnerability of the "American way of life." 9/11 made it crystal clear that there are people in the world who would take our freedoms from us, if we would let them. Prior to 9/11, I believe we took these freedoms for granted and could not imagine witnessing an attack. I have a new appreciation for the men and women who choose to put themselves in harm's way in protection of my way of life. I have also come to appreciate the importance of coming together as a nation to show those who would do us harm that, as a people, our resolve to protect this country and our way of life is a subject where there is no debate, we stand united.
9/11 has created in me a need to know more about international events and conditions in other countries. Given my perspective of a U.S. that is willing to help other countries in need, I have difficulty in understand why the U.S. is not just disliked but hated in many countries. I seem to be drawn to any information addressing this subject. 9/11 has made me a loyal MPR listener due to the international coverage it offers.
As of today 9/11 has not changed how I live my life but it has dramatically changed how I view my life. As our government takes steps to protect us from our enemies, I anticipate that all of us will be asked to make sacrifices, and I am prepared to do my share. —Steve Kovacs, Prior Lake, MN
I take a greater interest in our foreign policy. While I've always considered it important, I felt so far removed from it. Now it feels a lot closer to home. I think we need to work hard at improving our policies. —Kathleen Barton, St. Paul, MN
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