An online chronicle reflecting the impact of September 11.
I lost a very dear friend on United Flight 175. I continue to grieve with his wife and family and the constant reminders on the media do not help. His family is now being called and questioned by the media because of the anniversary. What they need, and those who continue to grieve, is some respite from it. The constancy of reminders has made them resolute to spend the day in quiet isolation.
Have we changed? This past year has shown America at its best (the response of the people to help 9/11 victims) and at its worst (the corporate and individual greed and talk of attacking another country). The politics in Washington continues to give the wrong image to countries around the world. If the average folk of this country have been changed by 9/11 somehow the governing folk in Washington continue on as usual. If 9/11 has shown anything it is that the bully pulpit policies and self-interest greed of our nation is not the way to continue in this 21st century. —Linda Elvee, St. Peter , MN
A day does not go by when, in my mind's eye, I don't see those towers fall. I'm stuck in time on that day. Everything is relative to that. —Kathleen Traina, Williamsville , NY
I've dealt with racism. I imagine I'll deal with it the rest of my life. But this feeling of patriotism seems more like a thinly veiled excuse to be racist towards those who hail from southern Asia. My dark skin and Indian descent make me a target. It also doesn't help that I think our president is an idiot. And in this paranoid era that reminds me of my 9th grade history about the Red Scare, saying what's on your mind is not only unpopular, it's unpatriotic. —Jenny Bhaumik, Hawaiian Gardens, CA
Our 27-year-old daughter works three blocks away from the World Trade Center in NYC. She saw the second plane hit the second tower from the back side and ran 20 blocks to safety and saw the first tower go down. She no longer is able to fly and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. I cannot imagine the horror of actually seeing that event and knowing people were dying in front of your eyes, I have visited Ground Zero twice since 9/11, the first time was in October when the ashes were still swirling around and the streets near my daughter's workplace were still barricaded.
All our lives will be marked by this event and yet it makes me think of some of the atrocities that we have committed as Americans and we need to work at understanding what desperation motivated those people. We cannot succumb to the eye for an eye theory of retribution. Mainly though, I miss the sense of security and the illusion of freedom that we have all lost. I miss my daughter. It did not really hit me until Sept. 12 how close we came to losing her. —Mary Tramel, Minneapolis, MN
Beyond the senseless tragedy of the violence is the sad polemics of the response to the 11th. We have an executive attempting to build an imperial presidency on the bodies of the victims, and a fascist sense of security over rights that harkens back to the McCarthy era or Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic. I am saddened at the poor image that we make as an international neighbor in the rest of the world as I travel. Nothing justifies the loss of life and the heinous attacks on the 11th; but the way we use our power in the rest of the world makes us more feared than loved, more intimidating than respected in far too many places. —Thom O'Shaughnessy, Burbank, CA
I feel the need to do good work everyday. With the feeling that time is running out, I've been working till exhaustion on creative projects and volunteering for a non-profit working for peace.
There's a need to be aware of others needs when going about daily errands, and to take the time to chat with the clerks, cashiers, neighbors, and strangers that one comes across during a busy day and ask how they are doing. There was a man downtown crying on the street in view of everyone. How can you ignore that? Yet people did. I sat down next to him to offer my support. It didn't solve his hurt, but at least he knew he wasn't alone or that no one cared. Sometimes it's the small things that count most in being more giving and disarming hate. —Rene Joseph, Minneapolis, MN
I have an underlying, deep sadness and pessimism for the future that I didn't have before. I fear for the kind of lives my grandchildren will be living. —Barbara Busch, Redondo Beach, CA
I am more likely to have my civil rights violated by my government; I am more likely to have social services decreased for human needs in favor of war; I am less likely to hear about erosions to Constitutional protections because of the endless "war on terrorism"; I am more likely to witness environmental degradation in the name of national security, and I am more likely to be a victim of terror in retaliation for the terror perpetrated on people all over the world by the United States in the name of democracy. And if you use my name on the air, I will probably be audited by the IRS. —Deborah Redman, Los Angeles, CA
I I wanted to say no. No because I still go about my day to day business, my husband even traveled by air to Mississippi that November.
But the real answer is yes. Yes because I go about my day to day business with a sense of the other shoe about to drop. Yes because when I left him at the airport I was sobbing with fear for him. To illustrate how pervasive the anxiety is I will tell you that my son has MR in the severe to profound range. This fourth of July we were at the Taste of Minnesota. We were sitting very close to the capitol and I noticed a helicopter flying closer and closer to the building. Then I noticed that my son was also watching the helicopter and as it drew closer he became very anxious and without taking his eyes off the helicopter reached for my hand "Mom, mom. Look!" That is when it hit me. Even if we cannot express it, even if we deny it; we are all afraid. —Edie Magee, Cottage Grove, MN
I am only dismayed that it took a tragedy of thousands of lives lost to wake Americans up to what much of the world thinks of us. I am terrified by how many reacted to it by trying to make it a holy war. Mostly I am disturbed that so many have taken this as a call to bring the country together under "Christian principles". If freedom of religion is anything more than words, then we need to stop acting like you have to be Christian to matter.—Brian Johnson, St. Paul, MN
I too was not directly affected by the tragedy that day, but have been changed. I believe we all changed that day. For me, I can't help but shudder as commercial planes fly above populated areas. I dislike the way they slide through the air like these giant predators. I can't help but wonder what such an event would look like in my city. What would I do? —Andrew Wickstrom, Hudson, WI
I returned from my first visit to New York City on September 9th. When my radio alarm clock went off around 8 a.m. on September 11th my life was changed as every other American. I was very sad and angry that innocent lives were taken, I imagined [what] if it was my plane.
The only thing that scared me was anger of others. I knew people of Middle Eastern descent would be targeted and I feared for their safety. I have realized that it is time to change my worldview. I became political for the first time in my life. I felt a sadness for the world and how life can be so terrible for so many that the only way they can have their horrors realized is through terrorizing others. The "American Way" is not what I thought. I look closer at America's consumption of everything, the way corporate businesses and globalization are hurting us as human beings and hurting our earth. Until each and every person on earth understands that we are all humans capable of feeling pain, happiness, joy, and sorrow then we cannot fully heal, as Americans. —Luya Rivera, Santa Rosa, CA
I am an African from Liberia. I am deeply concern about Arabs in this country today. The only language an Arab knows is violence. America needs to carefully watch these people. In America today, I am afraid to even visit the grocery store to shop because of bad human[s] in our midst today. —Sorie Tamba, Brooklyn Park, MN
I believe the emotion most constant to my days is anger. Anger at the inadequate administration we are being 'terrorized' by daily with its paranoid world view of evil lurking around every corner. And anger at my own generation: the Peace, Love, and Activist Children of the 60's - where are we now? —Sunny DeYoung, Glenwood City, WI
My life is different because of the freedom of speech issue. I am afraid to speak my mind about the events of 9/11 or the President. I don't like that feeling. Americans, in the height of fear, sometimes want security more than rights and that is the scariest thought of all. When you value security over your rights you are certain to lose them both... —Sharon Middleton, Hampton, VA
On that fateful morning I was obviously very distracted at work so I left to get an early lunch. I saw a tiny American flag perched above a doorway beckoning people to come in and vote in the local primaries. It was a small, simple symbol representing the freedoms we are supposed to have.
After that day the flag just seemed to become a symbol of vengeance, and I feel that the freedoms associated with it have been diminishing crazily. I worry about "increased security" that only inconveniences people without really being able to stop determined individuals.
I think our nation needs to be more open and try to have fewer secrets. We should really try to adhere to the rights we say we stand for. I'm worried for the future of our country, so I hope that I can find people in government that I can support, or run for office myself to make sure these ideals are met. —Michael Hicks, Minneapolis, MN
I don't think my own life has changed much, but my sense is that America as a whole has been nudged at least slightly in the direction of understanding that we are not alone in the world. Our actions, even well-meaning ones, affect people worldwide in unpredictable ways. And many in the world are anxious for us to comprehend that. —Robert Farlee, Minneapolis, MN
I am becoming increasingly concerned about the path this administration is taking. Europe, England, Ireland, in fact most of the rest of the world has endured terrorist attacks for decades: car bombs, kidnappings-etc. One massive attack on U.S. soil and this administration says we are "at war". Now everyone knows that a state of war allows a government to do things in the name of "national security" that they would not get away with otherwise. I am a Star Wars fan and I found "The Attack of the Clones" disturbingly topical. It has given me new names for members of this administration. They are 'Jar Jar Bush', 'Supreme Chancellor Cheney', and 'Darth Ashcroft'.
I will sign my name to this in the full knowledge that in the name of "national security" you people could be required to divulge this, Amazon.com and Borders Books could be required to give up a list of books I have bought, and the various book clubs I belong to could be required to do the same. However the U.S.A. is not China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, or the Former Soviet Union-yet —Kilani Hutchinson, Panorama City, CA
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