Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that evokes powerful memories even 10 years later. The images of that fatal day are so irrevocably imprinted in people’s minds, that to mention it elicits reactions instantly.
On that morning 19 hijackers took four commercial airliners in an attempt to carry out suicide attacks. Two of the airliners were intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third targeted the Pentagon in Washington D.C., while the last, also heading for Washington, was brought down by the passengers in a field in Pennsylvania. There were a total of 2,996 deaths including the 19 hijackers, and 246 passengers of those flights according to answers.com.
Karolyn Chowning, Trio program director, describes it as a “flashbulb memory” and compared it in terms of recall to events like the space shuttle Challenger accident, or the John F. Kennedy assassination.
“It’s those events, those ‘where were you then’ moments that really stick out,” Chowning said.
A number of OCCC students were children during the attack and described what it was like to hear the news at school.
“I was actually 11 years old,” said Drake Swopes, psychology major. “I was in middle school.
“I was at a dentist’s appointment. I was sitting there and I remember the nurse that was working on my teeth, freaking out, saying, ‘We’ve been bombed. We’ve been bombed’ and they turned the TV on and the planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.”
Mariah Abrams, video production major, said she was too young to understand what was going on at the time.
“I was in the fourth grade at the time and I just looked on the television and there was something being said — like I’d just seen all the chaos going on and at the time I really didn’t understand until I got a little older,” she said.
Students are not alone in who was affected by the events of that day.
Marijah Addams, Communications Lab tutor, said she was in eighth grade at the time.
“ … I remember walking into the school and there was nobody anywhere in hallways but all of the classes had their TVs turned on so I thought I was late for school,” Addams said. “I realized when I went into the class and everybody was sitting in the dark crying what had happened.”
Addams said the attack started a war that has existed her entire adult life.
The hijacking and attack also has created racial tensions for some.
“People look at me differently because I’m from a Middle Eastern country,” said Bamir Nori, pre-pharmacy major.
“They’re like, ‘ … your people bombed our place’ and I was like ‘not my people.’”
For more information visit the Open Directory Project’s September 11, 2001 page at www.dmoz.org/Society/Issues/Terrorism/Incidents/September_11,_2001.
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