Looking back at the day

Sept. 11, 2001. A day that began like any other, but ended with the loss of America’s innocence and feelings of invincibility. Now, almost a year later, America and SHSU continues to look back with wonder at the day that changed a nation and its people. “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the terrorist attacks,” student Stephanie Elliot said. “It seems like it was just yesterday I woke up and turned on the television and heard about what had happened.”Constant media coverage that documented the 2,800 lives lost and heroism of New York emergency officials kept the events of Sept. 11 close to our minds in the weeks immediately following the attacks. A year later with the clean up of Ground Zero only recently completed, students said they have still not forgotten what happened that day.”Even though it happened a year ago, you still hear about it all the time,” Elliot said. “It’s always on the news, something about Ground Zero or how they are still looking for bin Laden. It hasn’t gone away; people are still aware of it.”While the media has played a role in keeping the attacks on our minds, some students feel it is the historical significance of the attacks that make them memorable.”You can’t ever actually forget about something that huge in our nation’s history,” student Heather White said. “It will always be an anniversary people look back on, sort of like Pearl Harbor and other events in which people were killed unexpectedly.” Following the attacks, many questioned whether the event, considered to be the first milestone of the 21st century, would change America. Would the nation ever be able to go one with life as it had before the attacks?Students said for the most part, their lives have moved on.”You can’t get too carried away in it or it will eventually make you crazy with anger at what happened,” student Ryan Myers said. “At a certain point, people have to get back to life as usual and I think we have done that.””America had to prove to the world that we were strong after Sept. 11,” White said. “We took the time to grieve as a nation with memorials and events, but after that, we had to go on to show the terrorists this wouldn’t get us. America may have been down for a while, but we were not out.”The SHSU community has also become more patriotic. “The attacks made everyone appreciate America and what it means to live here and have the freedoms that we do,” Elliot said. “I think most people, even ones our age, feels more pride in our country now.””Now, when we do something like hear the national anthem at a sporting event, it means something more than it used to,” Myers said. “Now we hang flags and say things like ‘God Bless America.’ Those are things people just didn’t do very often before the attacks happened.””I think all the renewed patriotism is good,” student Kristen Cook said. “You can still see it a whole year later and I’m surprised by that. I hope it continues even after this one-year anniversary is over.”Students continually voiced the belief that Sept. 11 only served to make America stronger. As it had through World Wars and a Great Depression, the nation would persevere. “It was a horrible thing, but I think it served to make us a better country,” Cook said. “It brought us together and united us in our efforts to find the terrorists and to make airports and national security better so this never happens to us again.”America doesn’t want another tragedy like this,” she said. “Because of that, I think America will go on, but the we won’t ever forget.”

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