Butler Collegian staffers reflect 10 years later on where they were and how they reacted to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
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Chris Goff | Head Copy Editor
Sirens, so many sirens. Fire engines and ambulances tugging desperately at their air horns, trying to move screaming pedestrians. Debris falling like confetti. A clear morning sky blemished by one tubular puff of smoke, chugging slowly upward and off to the right across the skyline. A jagged, gaping, hollow hole sliced into the top of the first tower of the World Trade Center.
Confusion. Streams of people leaving work, calling loved ones. Lives lost at 110 stories, human skin incinerated by jet fuel. A second plane coming for the second tower. A sonic boom and a ball of fire exploding like an air bag. The workplace of 50,000 employees, in New York City, bodies unevenly falling to
ward an unforgiving sidewalk.
In Washington, an explosion at the Pentagon, a slanting chain of charcoal black smoke billowing from America’s military headquarters. In New York, towers of 100,000 tons of steel crumbling like cookies, inducing trapped firefighters to howl, “Head toward the light!” In Pennsylvania, another airplane, Flight 93, originally aimed for the White House or Capitol building, slamming headlong into a field and crushing its passengers.
What would come next? Who would come next? Which city would come next?
One Indian summer day in 2001. Untold numbers of horrific images and memories. 2,974 innocent Americans dead. Terrorism. Forces of darkness and evil reaching our shores. A declaration of war on the United State
Sunday marks the 10-year anniversary of those scenes of pain, those Sept. 11 attacks that were as much a national outrage as a national tragedy.
Massive casualties inflicted by a foreign enemy on our own soil for the first time since Pearl Harbor shattered an aura of protection and invincibility. Most experts considered another attack inevitable
I will never forget the imagery of President George Bush in November of 2001 at Yankee Stadium for the World Series, waving to tens of thousands of cheering, applauding New Yorkers who were at the center of America’s thoughts and prayers. I remember Bush so boldly and assuredly marching to the pitcher’s mound in God-knows-how-much body armor, taking the baseball and throwing a perfect strike to the catcher.
The scene spoke for itself: America would be fine, America would stay strong and America would prevail.
We have, and we will.
Al-Qaida fanatics would carry out a hundred more 9/11’s if given the opportunity to do so. But other than the 2009 attack on Fort Hood, killings have been prevented.
We cannot change the mind of murderers. We can only stop them.
No person should have to go through what the victims went through on 9/11.
True torture is being on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center and having to choose between burning to death and jumping to death.
America should never forget the memory of those human beings who faced that scenario and were murdered 10 years ago. Our utmost moral imperative ought to be the prevention of any similar attack ever again on public citizens in our places of work, business and residence.
May God bless America and the memory of the 9/11 victims. We will not forget.
Sara Pruzin | Print Managing Editor
Ten years can be measured in many ways. In the last ten years every tree has gained ten new rings, infants have grown to fifth-graders, and the United States has banded together against a threat that was virtually unheeded before ten years ago. The first two represent the gradual changes that every ten years prior to 2001 and every ten years after 2001 will have, but the last represents an event that will be unique to the ten years that followed September 11, 2001.
Then I was a sixth-grader who had no clue where or what the World Trade Center was. I remember my friend Kassy coming to lunch, slamming down her tray and saying, “Planes just hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” I recall not being worried or upset–just indifferent. I couldn’t seem to react to something that I couldn’t visualize.
Once I got home, however, the disaster seemed to sink in. Watching the planes hit, seeing the towers fall dozens of times, and gazing at the firefighters rushing and relentlessly digging, helped to impress the magnitude of the event upon me. I remember hearing the newly-elected president face his first national crisis as he described it as a terrorism attack, not an accident. Terrorism was a fairly new word to my vocabulary as a twelve-year old and I had no idea at the time how it would come to change my perspective on life.
In all of this turmoil and chaos, the one thing that still stands out in my mind is my dad saying, matter-of-factly, “There’s nothing like a war to boost the economy.” I didn’t want a war. War was a scary idea that I had only read about in romanticized novels or heard my grandparents reminisce about, not something I had lived through. I knew what my dad said was true, and I did want those responsible punished, but a little, naive part of me thought that death would not create more death.
No matter how hard I wished though, that war did happen, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Every day as the death toll of both civilians and soldiers rose, my fear of more death has become true. As ten years has passed now, spans of five years will continue to come and go. I just hope that there may be ten years where life is as it was before September 11, 2001.
André Smith | Assistant News Editor
For me, I think it’s impossible to forget that day. I was in fourth grade and suddenly a teacher came into our classroom and told us that a plane hit one of the Twin Towers. Then all the fourth and fifth graders went into a room to watch it all unfold on TV. I did not really understand the impact of it all until I got home and my mom explained to me what exactly happened. It definitely changed my perspective on how we in America take our safety for granted. But I’m glad to see that we as a nation have learned from it and have grown to be more united.
Olivia Ingle | Online Managing Editor
I remember that September day all too well. I was sitting in my sixth grade science class reviewing for the ISTEP test. My principal interrupted class by asking my teacher if she would step into the hallway. When she came back in, I knew something was wrong. Her face looked shell-shocked and confused. She told us that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center and as she flipped on the television, my peers and I stared in silence. Personally, I had never even heard of the World Trade Center. New York City was not even on my radar.
We sat in the classroom all day. I remember some peers crying, some sitting in silence. I was annoyed with a group of boys behind me because they were joking about someone attacking our hometown. I had read about terrorists, but never thought I would experience them in real life. All I wanted to do was go home. I did not understand the extent of the situation and honestly, I’m not sure I ever will.
That day, I didn’t realize how the incidents would affect my life. A year later, my father was deployed with the Army National Guard, 3 months shy of retirement. Fortunately he was stationed in Texas, not Iraq or Afghanistan. Now ten years later, a dear friend is still fighting the same war, but overseas.
The attacks made me realize that I don’t live in a perfect world. No one does. We have to fight for everything that we have. Let’s honor and remember all of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 and during the war efforts following that day. It may be 10 year later, but they are not forgotten.
Lauren Stark | Copy Editor
I don’t remember specifics from 9/11. I have wispy images of sitting in my third grade classroom and only a few words of my principal’s announcement stick in my head. No, the most overwhelming memory for me is the feeling of that day: fear.
My dad is a businessman who travels all over the country to visit different offices and warehouses. With frequent flyer miles racked up on his cards, saying goodbye to my dad before he left for a trip and got on a plane was just part of my family’s weekly routine. On 9/11, my dad was on another trip.
Luckily for my family, he was not on any of the planes, or even in any of the states of the crashes. But not all of our friends and family knew that.
My home was a barrage of phone calls. Relatives on both sides of my family called, with fear of the possibilities in their hearts that eventually turned into overwhelming relief.
From that day on, my dad leaving was never a routine affair. After a hiatus from flying imposed by the company, he of course, as part of his job, had to travel. With every goodbye, there was always the memory of 9/11 in the back of our minds. The fear has subsided over the years, but it has changed me. I never say a throwaway goodbye. I never feel ready to let family leave without an “I love you.”
Hayleigh Colombo | Editor in Chief
Someone busted frantically into my classroom on 9/11 yelling at my teacher to turn on the TV because our nation was under attack. I thought it was some sort of creative brain teaser for our class…a test of how we would react under a difficult circumstance. How naive I was. It was hard at that time to judge the significance of what really had happened, but even now with 10 more years of knowledge under my belt and 3/4 of a political science degree, I still have no idea how it must have felt to lose someone that day. Very grateful to be an American!