By Tina Turvey
September 11, 2021 Marks the twentieth anniversary of the most traumatic events in American history–the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers and the pentagon. Two thousand nine-hundred and seventy-seven people were killed that day, along with 19 hijackers who committed murder-suicide and more than 6,000 people injured.
For those of us that were old enough to remember it we know where and when we first heard of the happenings of the most horrendous event in American history. At that time I was 21 years old living in a medium sized college town. That morning I was speaking to my priest; and before leaving my priest interjected–”have you heard about New York?” I did not really grasp what he was saying and quickly headed to the local coffee shop for a Latte.
Ordering my Latte I suddenly realized there was something terribly wrong. There was no music playing–just a blaring radio news channel and dead silence–even though the shop was full of patrons. The dead silence was so heavy a pin could be heard dropping in the midst of 50 customers.
After leaving I spent the rest of the day–and coming days–glued to my television. I had not seen anything so horrible. The only thing that I could compare it to was the Oklahoma City Bombing seven years prior–and that killed 168 people. The World Trade Towers attack was beyond what I could fathom. The papers showed people jumping to their deaths along with canine heros digging people out of the rubble. Months prior a friend of mine moved to Brooklyn and I still do not know if she lived or not.
New terms and concepts entered American life afterwards. Concepts such as “the war of terror”, “jihad”, “patriot act” and “Islamophobia” became everyday terms. The repercussions of terrorism were felt. I have seen more amputees since the war on terror began than ever before. New levels of PTSD are present and many people are scared of Muslims and hate crimes have increased.
The most profound consequences of 9/11 has been the political, religious, and social division in this country. There has been much debate on whose fault the attack was and what should the US and it’s military do in response. There has been less trust and conspiracy theories abound.
Many want the stress and resulting trauma just to go away. I for one am tired of the division this has caused. Hopefully healing can come that results in peace and a consensus on how to repair the damage done. Time heals all wounds I am told and hopefully this will be the case.