The events of September 11, 2001 remain engraved in the hearts of Americans and serve to reinforce people’s appreciation of the historical events for the younger generations in the United States. Back then the country lost approximately 3,047 people while numerous others were affected directly or indirectly. Most of those who lost there are part of today’s Portraits of Grief (Chen, De Palma and Hoffman). According to The New York Times September 12, 2001 (The New York Times 1), the events of 9/11 instilled in the hearts of Americans, chilling disbelief characterized by trembling floors, sharp eruptions, and cracked windows. What followed was the merciless sight of bodies helplessly tumbling out, and some in flames. The event worsened with the attack of the twin to the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon new Washington D.C. These events not only dominated public attention, but also circulated spectacles of terror that created panic and fear. Despite being mighty towers, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were reduced to nothing. The intensity of panic and fear led people to scramble for their lives, despite not knowing where to go. Most people could not understand whether to remain indoors or outdoors, go East, South, West, or North. People hide beneath each other and cars, while other contemplated other efforts like jumping into rivers. It was not clear what part was safe to flee to.
Horror and panic did not only hit the Americans. On the contrary, the then President George Bush vowed to retaliate against the culprits and vowed not to distinguish between those who committed the acts and those who harbored the terrorists. An interview with one of the victims named Anita, the confessions confirmed that the memories of 9/11 still leave an impact in the lives of Americans. Despite the occurrence in close to two decades ago, the attack still ignites panic and fear in people. For Anita (Anita), her memories of that day are not selective. On the contrary, most details of the encounter still remain intact. In her words, on the morning of the attack a faceless coward had sabotaged the freedom, safety, and security of Americans. At first, the enemy managed to instill fear in the nation. However, over time, the country has been assured of safety with the different measures of security put in place to secure the US. Anita remembers clearly has she had been trapped in smoke for over 30 minutes. Having been in a building close to the World Trade center, and being five months along her pregnancy, the smoke almost overwhelmed her and left her breathless. However, she was lucky that as the building came crumbling down, she did not fall or get injured. However, she recounts with tremor that the horror she experienced subjected her to high blood pressure that risked her pregnancy.
Franklin, a teller working in supermarket several blocks away remembers vividly how the explosion of the building left him afraid. For the first time in his life he confesses, having felt an explosion that left him feeble and weak, while he became numb (Fanklin). However, he managed to gather some strength, get out of the building to view what was happening. To his surprise, one of the world’s tallest buildings, the World Trade Center was on fire. He recounts hearing some eye witnesses on the street narrate how the attack was carried out using jets. For most of the following nights, he could Franklin revealed how he had experienced nightmares and psychological trauma. He compares the psychological trauma to that post-traumatic stress disorder by soldiers. Franklin makes it clear that the images he saw on that day still resonate in his memories and form part of the unforgettable imagery.
For the ordinary American, the 9/11 attack remained another terrorist attack. However, the government clearly understood the cause as the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by the Bush Administration’s initiative of “war on terror “. The attack not only brought fear and insecurity to America, but also spread to the global scale. From both national and international level, the attack saw people start calling their relatives and friends to confirm their whereabouts. From the video, it is evident that most people experienced a state of helplessness and could not carry on with their routines worrying and wondering what will become of the people in the attacked building. However, In Memoriam (Giuliani) video also revealed how some fearless people like Giuliani managed to help calm New York City’s worn nerves with constant appearances on television recapping the events of the day in a very orderly way. Giuliani was definitely up to the task of controlling those dark days effortlessly.
Personally, I remember hearing about the incident while at school. Panic and anxiety struck me not knowing what awaited our nation next. I remember screaming out unconsciously at the thought that innocent people had lost their lives. At first, I got misguided information that the entire of New York was under attack by terrorists. I panicked knowing that I had relatives there and that it was not clear which state would be under attack next. I remember praying and repenting my sins as I thought the end of the world had just come and with a super power like American being under attack, the rest of the world must have under siege. I thought that I could no longer see my parents, friends, and relatives and I felt there was nothing worth living for. Patiently I waited for our turn or the attacks. Literary, I was shaking in fear and disbelief.
- Anita, Johson. 9/11 Interview Self. 21 September 2017.
- Chen, David, et al. “Portraits of Grief.” The New York Times 21 September 2017.
- Fanklin, Melter. 9/11 Interveiw Self. 21 September 2017.
- In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01 (2002). Dir. Rudy Giuliani. 2002. Film.
- The New York Times. “Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers and Hit Pentagon in Day of Terror.” The New York Times 12 September 2001.