Though the terrorist attacks of Sept.11 were a year ago, many students still remember them as if it were yesterday. Most of the fear has subsided, but the impact that single day made on our nation remains in full force.
“All of that happening in one day,” said Vivek Patel, sophomore, “it gives me chills just thinking about it.”
Patel is one of the volunteers that could be seen throughout the week urging students to sign the banner that will be delivered to New York in time for Sept.11, 2002.
“As far as the fear that tomorrow something big is going to happen,” Patel said, “that has subsided.”
Others agreed that the fear is no longer something that students experience on a daily basis.
“In the first six months I was afraid,” said Candice Byrd, junior, “but I feel like the country took a lot of preparation for future attacks and now I feel safer.”
Students like Valerie Cohen, junior, pointed out that although there is not the same level of fear, the attacks last year made Americans lose the sense of security they once had.
“Sept.11 made me realize that even though we live in the most powerful country, it doesn’t mean that we’ll ever really be safe like we thought before,” Cohen said. “When I saw the attacks on TV I thought is was another country. My last thought was that it could happen here.”
“It was a turning point in our nation’s history,” Byrd said, “we realized we were not invincible. Sept. 11th forced us to realize our weaknesses.”
Aside from the obvious negative results of Sept. 11, many students felt that the aftermath of the attacks actually improved the United States.
“Even if we were not directly connected to the victims of Sept. 11,” said Ambar Hernandez, junior, “as Americans we were affected by its aftermath.”
The unity of citizens throughout the country, shown through long lines at blood banks and American flags flying from nearly every building and car, was something that surprised some students.
“I never knew America had the ability to unify the way it did,” Patel said. “One of the major things about America is being an individual, but the type of growth and unity that Sept. 11 has brought the U.S. is the only single positive result from that day. Hopefully that unity will stand.”
Other students, like Terrell Darby, junior, noticed a more individual change.
“I’m a little more patriotic,” Darby said, “before I didn’t really care.”
Though only a year has passed, many students have started to remember Sept. 11 in a historical context as opposed to thinking of it as something that continues to shape the world around us.
Both Cohen and Patel likened their memories of the attack to the recollections of the Kennedy assassination passed down to them from previous generations.
“Before we didn’t have any events to link us like our parents had,” Cohen said.
Patel agreed that though the event was tragic, it is worth remembering.
“I know when I grow older and have kids,” Patel said, “I’ll always remember what I was doing on that day and what happened.”
Many of the students interviewed planned to attend the candle light vigil hosted at UM and anticipated interesting conversation on the event in their classes.