September 11, 2001.
The date alone conjures the images of smoldering Twin Towers and it crumbling to the ground. The day will forever go down in history as one of the worst attacks on American soil, and it spawned a 20-year Afghanistan war in its wake. Many, who were adults at that time, reminisce with heartbreak still in their voices. But, it is a different experience for those who were too young or born after 9/11.
Hannah Baker, a Lorain Country Community College student, recalled being in high school when the horrific incident occurred. Initially, she didn’t realize its impact. But the fear truly started to settle in when her teacher forcefully threw a book across the classroom and shouted, “I hate it when people attack our country.” Years later, the memories still resonate with Baker. Her dad was an air traffic controller at the time, and she heard everything occurring on Flight 93 before they lost contact. To cope with the trauma, her family visited every 9/11 memorial. “It really brought closure to us. I think they all depicted the true scope of the tragedy very well,” Baker said.
Amherst resident Megan Campbell, who was in high school at the time, shared similar stories. Campbell recalled “getting into the study hall and there it was on the TV.” Having known people in New York, Campbell recalled being terrified. “I don’t think anybody fully understood; we didn’t know what it meant.”
Maryah Sneed, an Engineering major at LCCC, said she was surprised that “something so heinous could cross somebody’s mind to do. I’ve flown, and I’m always a little scared that am I ever gonna be safe?”
Nick Millsop, an LCCC freshman, had a similar response. “We go over 9/11 in high school every year. I mean terrorism is bad, of course, and I feel it’s really on the rise,” Millsop said.
High school students were further removed from the impact of 9/11, causing many to view it as something that had occurred before they were born.
Steel Parish, a sophomore at Marion L Steele High School in Amherst,recalls learning about 9/11 through the internet when he was 11 or 12. He knew “two planes hit the Twin Towers, one plane hit the Pentagon, and one landed in a field in Pennsylvania.” He knew they were hijacked and that it was suspected the attack came from Middle-Eastern radicals, but it was also quick to throw in the viral internet conspiracy theory of then-president Bush having a part in the attack. Parish didn’t show any emotions when talking about 9/11 and shrugged and commented, “It’s just kind of a thing that happened before I was born.”
Claire Kline, 18, and Taryn Clark, Marion L Steele High seniors, 17, echoed Parish’s views. They said they knew, sort of, about it but didn’t fully learn about 9/11 until the fifth- or sixth grade.
Kline said she was “but rather intrigued. I mean, it is something to learn. I’m not personally scared by it, though.” However, Kline said she is terrified that something similar could occur again.
Young adults today view 9/11 as another event covered in history class, and it’s just another disaster that occurred before their time. But to those such as North Ridgeville resident Jaimey Whitehead, “It’s the closest thing people that were alive during the time can equate to Pearl Harbor.”