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How did 9/11 affect you?

Letter From the Editor

Posted: August 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Nobody talked to me about 9/11. An adolescent with a small understanding of the world, I consumed hours of news and radio coverage that morning – without an adult ever explaining what it meant.

After watching the plane hit live on TV, my mother spent hours trying to get her nephew on the phone. At the time, he worked in New York City, far enough from danger. But he wasn’t answering. Did he have lunch near the World Trade Center? Could he have done something stupid and tried to help?

During the school day, my friends and I shared what our teachers said in class. Would the U.S. declare war? What is an act of terrorism? Why would a foreign people harbor such hate for the United States?

Even as a teen, the uncertainty of our country’s future brought everything in my life to a halt. After school, my friends and their parents all got together at my neighbor’s house to deal with the shock. They spoke in whispers over the news as we listened from the next room.

My cousin was fine. He was stuck in the city, and his cell phone wasn’t working that close to ground zero. But he was OK. My friend’s dad said we were for sure going to war. Another parent questioned whether the attacks were done. Would L.A. be the next target?

We all remember what we were doing when we heard. We can still remember the things we then questioned that we had previously taken for granted – were we safe? We remember the mourning and the ensuing sense of unity that healed us as a people.

What was your 9/11 experience?

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