The impact of Sept. 11 on the next generation
Five years ago the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground. They say the world changed on September 11, 2001, but what does this mean to a generation of students who were in their mid teens when it happened?
History teacher James Fleming discussed the historic day with his 12th grade Advanced Placement students on Thursday afternoon. He began the conversation by observing how there are defining moments for each generation such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. For this generation, September 11 was one of those moments, he said.
Sara Moffitt remembers being very concerned about her father, a Delta pilot, that day. Her mother was on the phone sobbing, she said. Sara’s immediate concern was about family, and the world scope of the event had not sunk in yet.
"Our sense of how big and drastic it was was kind of skewed," she said.
Kevin Wash’s father is also a pilot for American Airlines. After the event he observed there were rapid retirements in the company and his father rose in the ranks.
"It directly influenced the airline companies as a whole," he said.
In the aftermath, some people became uncomfortable traveling by air because they feared another attack. Alex Lee said it was probably one of the best times to travel, even safer than today.
"I understand people’s concerns, but I think it was stupid people were afraid to fly after September 11," he said.
Another fear was that with the nation’s attention turning to Salt Lake City for the 2001 Winter Olympics there could be a terrorist attack here.
"I remember the Olympics coming up the next year," said Alexis Sumison. "Right after it happened I remember thinking something was going to happen (here)."
Kevin noted how important it is not to let fear be debilitating.
"We have to keep living our lives as we are. We can’t sit here worrying the school is going to blow up," he said.
Many of the students agreed that, while it left people afraid, there was a sense of unity among people.
"Right after it happened, it did bring the whole country together," Jordan Fischer said.
Rob Florance noted it also allowed some people to rake in some cash.
"I think flag makers made a lot of money," he said. "It was kind of disgusting, the amount of profiteering."
Kylie Malcome also saw that people’s rights became compromised as some where arrested and held without evidence as terrorist suspects.
"It really affected the way the world thinks about war and terror," she said.
The fear and grief after September 11 put people in mindset to do things they might not have done otherwise, she said, such as allowing the Patriot Act to be put in place and going to war.
"The concept of war on terrorism is ludicrous. You can’t go to war on a concept," he said.
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