09-11-2001 The Day That Affected Everyone


kaitlyn Ball, Contributing Writer

Everyone was affected by the terrorist attack on the world trade center, not just people who live in new york. 

Of course, we all know the date of September 11, 2001. It was a very sad day in history and we just recently passed the 19 year anniversary of it. When flight 11 hit the World Trade Center, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes flying time from Washington, DC. Hijackers took over these flights in a successful attempt to attack the United States. Although we do not know why they wanted to do this to us, there are many speculations. We do know that they attempted to blow up the world trade center once before this, in 1993. Thankfully this was not as successful, as we lost far fewer lives, and not nearly as much damage or havoc was made. With this very sad moment in history, we know that it affected many people, but we tend to forget that it did not just affect the people in New York or the people who know people that were in the towers. When the towers crashed, it affected everyone. Every person alive during the time of that event has a different story. I interviewed multiple people of different ages that lived in Michigan during 9/11 and asked them to tell their stories.

Mr. Vangorp’s Experience

Mr.Vangorp was a young professor when the towers crashed, and to make it even worse, it was his first year. He said when he first found out they had crashed, he was stunned and he had no idea what to do or why it happened. Shortly after he had to go to the office and ask how he was supposed to teach the students when something major like this had happened. 

I asked if we should better commemorate 9/11 and he said that he thinks we should just continue to teach students about and the lives that were lost. He thinks that New York has taken the lead in commemorating this event. He goes on to explain that he thinks that it should not be mandated, but it is up to the people in their own communities to decide how to honor the people that were lost. 

Mrs.Dolce’s Experience

Mrs.Dolce was in her late 20s teaching for her first time, with a group of freshmen in high school. It came on the news and the office called her and told her to turn on the television, that there was something of national importance happening. She stated, “It wouldn’t have mattered what channel I turned it on because every channel had the images of the first tower that had been hit by an airplane in New York City, at first my students and I were wondering what could have caused a hole like that. We continued to listen to the broadcasters and they said that it was a plane. We did not know exactly what type of plane or why, we just thought it was an accident until we saw the second plane and then we knew. It was very shocking and very devastating to all of us and some students did get emotional and ended up going home early. My students and I were very fearful, we felt as if we were under attack. We knew that people died and that more people were going to die, it was very sad. I started to get nervous, my children were young and I wasn’t with them, they weren’t with me you know, they were at daycare and in kindergarten, I had all of my 9th-grade students. We just didn’t know what to do or where to go from there.” She goes on to explain that they kept watching and that more news kept coming in, and they began to hear news about the plane in Pennsylvania, and the one at The Pentagon.

 I asked her how we should better commemorate it and how we should teach it better and she states, “It’s crazy now, you know we’re in 2020 so none of my students were alive when this happened. I usually just let my students explore and go as far as they like. I give them articles to read and videos to watch and overall, kind of a broad assignment so that they can learn as much as they are comfortable with. I want them to try and make a connection with the event and their own lives. To commemorate it better though, I think students and communities should do some sort of service project that helps the environment or the people around us.”

Curtis’s Experience

Curtis is a friendly neighbor to my family and has a son and wife now and at the time of the crash of the twin towers, he was in 7th grade, about 12 or 13, at the welcoming week-long stay away from camp in Dexter, Michigan when he found out. It was supposed to be a transition from younger grades to the older grades. He mentioned they were in the dining hall and that they heard about it over an intercom because since they were at camp there were no TVs or any way to actually watch the news.

 When I asked how he thinks we could better commemorate the lost lives and teach us about the situation he stated, “I think we should teach students about, make sure that everyone is educated and you know, give the students all the facts about the attack. They should be taught the flight names and where they crashed, etc. The next generation should also be taught more about maybe why they wanted to attack us, the superstitions.”  

Kendra’s Experience

Kendra is a neighbor to my family and has a young son almost the age she was when the world trade center was attacked, which was about 5 years old in preschool. I remember they came over the intercom and stated the situation. She explained that because she was young she didn’t really understand what was happening but as she got older, she realized how big of an ordeal this was and that it was very important.

To better commemorate 9/11 she said that she thinks we should just remember and honor the lives that we lost. She thinks that we should be taught about in school, but thinks they are doing a good job at how they do it now.

A recurring part in each of these stories from very different people was that they were shocked. A few of them began to feel unsafe or worried as well and most of them did not know what to do. This shows that when the world trade center was crashed into, it did not just affect the people in New York, or the families of the families and first responders that were in or helping with the crash. This is something that affected everyone differently and that is why we should never forget about this and continue to learn about it and commemorate the lives that were lost.