BY GENEVIEVE KURTZ
Today marks the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in which two planes struck the World Trade Center in New York City, another plowed into the Pentagon and a fourth went down in rural Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 innocent civilians.
Over a decade later, Americans continue working to recover from what many consider to be the greatest tragedy in U.S. history.
While these terrorist attacks have had a lasting impact on many people, for most university students today it does not resonate as strongly.
The young adults of this generation were somewhere in their first years of elementary school when the terrorists struck in 2001. Their memories of the event are not much more than a blur. For some university students, their only memory of that day is leaving school early and not understanding why.
However, it is not uncommon for many students, like junior Kelly Wilson to have absolutely no recollection of what happened on 9/11––which is what many young adults claim––that they have little remembrance of the tragic events as they were happening.
Despite having grown up in New Jersey with both parents working just blocks away from the twin towers on the day of the attack, Salisbury junior, Jocelyn Vasquez, discloses that the only real impact it has had on her is making her more cautious and aware of her surroundings. Especially when travelling and at airports, she said.
Directly after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invested billions of dollars on increasing security and entered into a defensive posture. Fourteen years later, there have been efforts to reduce these security measures to a practical level.
Americans across the country are following suit, working to recover from other fallouts from the 9/11 attacks.
“At this point we’re recovering from the aftereffects of the event,” Wilson said. “Two examples that comes to mind are the insane increases in security and how to maintain them and the negative stereotyping of American Muslims.”
For many, this situation only emphasizes the necessity and gives people the opportunity—especially SU students—to become more aware of the complexities of the history that led up to the attack and to create a dialogue about it. History professor Joseph Venosa believes that history is like a garden and that we must go back to the roots in order to understand it, he said.
However, many people are not typically inclined to do this until a dramatic event like 9/11 occurs.
“When it comes home to you, that’s when people become aware,” Venosa said.
Over the past decade, the impacts of 9/11 have consumed the nation’s attention but now many Americans feel the nation is at a point where citizens must create a balance between honoring those who were personally affected by the event, and pushing past prejudices that were accentuated by it.
“Appreciate that events don’t happen in isolation—there are bigger forces,” Venosa said. “If you really care about the state of humanity, you need to be willing to get into the complexities of history.”
While there are major concerns brought on by the 9/11 attacks that will continue to exist in years to come, the anniversary gives people an opportunity to reflect upon the past and focus on building a better future.