Today: May 29, 2024

Fearing an American change that lasts a lifetime

 KRISTEN O’DONNELLSpecial to the Southern News

As September rolls around, it is a norm to remember the event that changed our lives 10 years ago. The Sept. 11 attacks impacted every citizen of the U.S. These attacks were unforeseen to the Americans, almost unfathomable altogether. This event hijacked our freedoms, safety and security. In less than 24 hours, the world would change. I think no one would believe the impact that this single event would have on our lives.

If you speak to a person who was alive on Nov. 22, 1963, he or she would probably be able to tell you where they were, what they were doing, and how that day impacted the lives of Americans. The same goes for Dec. 7, 1941. The Kennedy assassination, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 have influenced every person in this country.

These events created horror in the minds of Americans. People were taken by complete surprise. Innocent people were killed. The country was glued to the television as if it was watching the newest horror movie in the box office. The script could not have shown what would become.

Americans came to the aid of New York in the time of need. Volunteers were sent to clean, rebuild and donate goods to those in need. Firefighters and police were sent to help. People set up funds for the families of the victims. American came together. It united.

As schools let out early that day, people watched the TV. They saw the innocent dying, suffering, and simply disappearing into the rubble as the buildings fell on live television. This must be pointed out because with the Kennedy and Pearl Harbor examples, there was not live TV to broadcast every single detail.

The sheer pain on the faces of New Yorkers caused the American people to open their hearts. Americans began to fly flags, to become aware of freedom, to love the country. A kind of patriotism was reignited among the citizens.

As former President Bush and New York Mayor Guiliani began to say that America would not stand for terrorism, a new event would come out of this event. Bush would throw us into a war using this event as the reason to enter the Middle East. He would deem it necessary to make sure the world would know America would not accept terrorist acts on its soil.

Operation Iraqi-Freedom was born. Now, almost 10 years later, the war has not ended. The entire country has lost something. Our troops are fighting never-ending battles. They are losing their lives. The world economy is in crisis. The American economy is in shambles. The cost of this war is over $1 billion. The unemployment rate was reported over 9 percent in July. The housing, banking and stock markets are unsteady. Americans’ lives changed completely on that day 10 years ago.

These volatile acts came to change our lives forever. They changed society as the American people knew it. Osama bin Laden would become a household name. The Patriot Acts took away personal rights and freedoms from every individual. Security is on the mind at all times. Fear was put into the American mind on Sept. 11

At 19, I was in awe of the attacks. I could not imagine what had happened. I remember thinking, “How was terrorism going to get the point of the hijackers across to the American people?” It just did not make sense. Now, 10 years later, I can hardly believe the effects that this single event has had. It shaped a new society. I had taken a year off from school in 2001. I went to receive a paralegal certificate the following year. This would lead to a career in the legal field.

After several years, I started attending Southern as a political science major. Political science has given me the tools to understand that this event truly has changed the world. It will not be forgotten. Every day you will see a flag. Not as many, but you will most likely see one. Every day there are more precautions being taken at airports, stadiums, or public arenas. Every day there are decisions being made to make you aware of your surroundings. Commercials still tell you to report “something suspicious.” If you told me all these changes would occur after Sept. 11, 2001, I would have been the first to tell you that would not ever happen. Little did I know at 19.

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