Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.
Having the day off from work, I turn on the T.V., sat on the couch and began eating my bowl of cereal. The news is concentrated on multiple airplanes that were not following their designated routes. Air Force is dispatched in more than one location. All of a sudden, one of the planes has gone through one of the twin towers. This appears a bit surreal to me. Did this really happen? Another plane hits the other twin tower. Another plane crashes into the ground and another into the Pentagon. My mind finds it hard to wrap around the events that I have just viewed on the news. I can't believe what I'm seeing. I have just watched people die. This only happens in movies right? My appetite for breakfast is gone. The towers have fallen and there is a very large plume of debris that has enveloped New York. People are running for their lives. Not only is the air unsafe, so is the ground!
[Your story: How has September 11 changed you?]
Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, relatives, loved ones are all affected. Those in the impact sites plus those watching the news hundreds of miles away, are affected in one way or another. I can't watch the reruns and documentaries that view the events of that day nor will I purchase a book that has the pictures and stories.
This event has left me with many questions. Could this have been prevented? Are we safe in our country? Have we taken too many things for granted? I feel that anytime there are not enough answers, it leaves room for doubt and speculation. Pearl Harbor could have been prevented, but President Roosevelt wanted a war. Could this be the same thing? Did we just repeat history? There was an unusual amount of insider stock trading. There were rumors of government officials and other prominent figures that canceled flights for that day or the day prior. There are too many questions. It feels that with the technology our government has access to and the level of intelligence involved, it was known this day would happen and nothing was done to prevent this terrible disaster or at least an attempt to offset it was made. It would be absurd to think that our government officials did not see this coming.
Another unfortunate side effect of this event was anyone that appeared, or were foreigners and/or Muslim residing in the U.S., felt discrimination instantly. Muslim children would be afraid to attend school. We don't have to agree with beliefs of other religions, but we need to tolerate and learn how to be a Good Samaritan. Golden Rule applies to everyone. Every religion has their fanatics.
The terrorists have accomplished their goal in spreading fear among U.S. citizens and throughout the rest of the world. We retaliated with revenge lacking the use of legitimate sources of information according to some within the CIA. The continued war in Afghanistan and Iraq was obviously never meant to be won which leads to further drainage on the U.S. economy and continual loss of loved ones. We have also sacrificed liberty for a bit of safety which has increased the invasion of privacy and false imprisonment of citizens. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them." We should heed the many wise words of the writers of the Constitution. They were hopeful the generations-to-come would be able to keep a Republic as intended and stay away from a Democracy. I hope another event of this magnitude is never duplicated.