9/11 Thoughts and Reflection: Hagerstown Students Respond to Event

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Eighteen years ago, the world changed forever. Most of us can remember the exact spot we were when the news arrived that the Pentagon and Twin World Trade Towers were attacked. So many stories were coming across the various news outlets it was impossible to escape the seemingly impossible events unfolding before us. Everyone had a story about their feelings at the time.

The present class of high school students are among the first generation to not be a witness of the catastrophe. Thanks to Hagerstown High School Social Studies teacher Kent Gray, who asked his HHS junior students to share their thoughts. Many have been shortened for space constraints, but their complete answers are on the Hometown Media Group webpage at https://hmgccity.com

“I don’t really have any emotions or feelings towards 9/11 because I wasn’t there to experience it and I’ve never had an experience like that. I do know that since then there has been a culture shift in America. Before 9/11 from my understanding we use to thought that we were invincible and nothing bad could ever make it to are side of the world, but it only took 11 hours to break the American people hope in the country. After 9/11 the culture went from nothing can harm us to everyone could harm us. We became more protective and more careful so that an event like that will never happen again.
I know that a lot of good people died in the event of 9/11 and more deaths would follow for the next few days. I know that many people committed suicide the following days after and that people jumped off of the Twin Towers in a desperate act to get away or take their death in their own hands. I know that hundreds of people could have been saved if the police evacuated the building when the first plane hit instead of saying it’s all clear. I know that many people could have been saved if the door to the roof wasn’t locked up. I know that the fire could have spread slower and that people could have evacuated the building if safety regulations were as good as they were today. I know that hundreds of people are still missing to this day. I know that all the first responders and the military worked days on days without end clearing the debris trying to find someone or anyone that was alive. I know that millions of people evacuated the buildings and the city of New York. I know that the economy was damaged pretty badly and that the white house was in danger, but thanks to some brave souls stopped the plane before it crashed into the white house. I know that on that day a war over terrorism started and is still going on today. I know that many people today still live in fear of 9/11 today and can remember everything that happened that day.”
Nathan Banta

“I was not alive on September 11, 2001. I have read about it, and I have watched documentaries about it, but I will never fully understand it. No one can really understand it unless they were there to experience it.”
Garrett Burns

“Although I wasn’t alive for the tragic events of 9-11, I do know that it stopped the country in its tracks. Every year as it becomes closer to that time, I learn something new. Because of the stories I have heard and how it affected people differently, it helped me to form my own opinions about the day. I must say, that even though I was not born yet, it still affects me greatly.”
Emma Cool

“9/11 occurred about a year before I was born, however I remember stories about what life was like in Hagerstown, IN on that day. My mom was just getting back to school while my grandma was at our house watching my older sister. My mom said that she was so panicked trying to make sure that her students were safe and that she couldn’t stop thinking about the rest of our family. I can picture my grandma at our house playing with baby Mattie Drew then getting a call to turn on the new and if she was okay. I couldn’t imagine a more horrific event near my lifetime, it has impacted our country greatly in many different ways.
Shay Doerstler

“I was not alive for the events of September 11, 2001, so everything that I know has been learned from documentaries and people’s stories. Due to this I don’t have a personal experience with it, but I know the tragedies that happened that day. It is saddening to me that such a terrible thing happened to the nation that day. Even though some people can’t remember what they ate for dinner last night everyone I have talked to can remember exactly what they were doing on September 11, 2001. I have heard there was an eerie silence in the air that day due to the grounding of all flights that day, and I heard a single story of the like for the gas station at the intersection of 1 and 70 being backed up all the way to the railroad on one. A lot of good people died that day.
Howard Hobson

“The tragedies that occurred on September 11th were shocking to all of America and changed our lives forever. Being a kid and seeing these attacks go on is demoralizing. Attacks like these continue to become normalized every day. It’s bone-chilling and it breaks my heart.”
Allison Jamison

“Every year 9/11 rolls around and it is a very sorrowful time for our country. Starting from a young age I have been taught by family members and in history classes about the events that happened on that day. I know that it was a huge turning point for America. All public places started to crackdown on security and protection. People were afraid to leave their homes, due to the condition of the outside world. They were even afraid to be in what used to be the safety of their own homes. Although I was not there to experience it, I will never forget the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent civilians, police officers, and firefighters, on September 11th, 2001.”
Melanie Martindale

I wasn’t born the day America suffered one of its greatest tragedies. September 11, 2001 was a dark day of losses, sufferings, fears, and confusions. From what I’ve read, seen, and been told, people all over the United States were in utter shock at what had happened. People couldn’t believe it was true until they saw it all over the news. Once the truth had sunk in, people feared leaving their houses. No one knew what was going to happen next, if anything.
Ella Nicholson

“Even know I was not alive on a day that killed almost 3,000 people in New York and Washington D.C. 9/11 will be a day that I will never forget. I have learned a lot about 9/11 in school, from my parents, grandparents and my aunts and uncles, but I know I will never fully understand what happened that day. Whenever I think about 9/11 it not only makes me sad, it makes me mad and frustrated. I will never understand why someone would want to murder innocent people. It frustrates me when I think about how the people walked into World Trade Centers or the Pentagon like it was just a normal day at work, not knowing that they would never come out or every see their family again. Firefighters and police officers risked their lives to save others put themselves in harm’s way to help others because it was there job. The people on Flight 93 that crashed their plane into a field in Pennsylvania. They knew they were going to die either way and they saved many lives. I believe that no amount of articles, documentaries, or stories could teach you what it really felt like to be alive, to be scared because the great country of the United States was under attack, to sit in front of the television watching as the twin towers collapsed and feeling hopeless. I hope that as many years pass people will always remember how September 11th, 2001 changed America and the American people forever.
Ashlynn Oliger

“The events of 9/11/2001, took place two years before I was born. I know that it was a terrorist attack on the world trade center and the pentagon and that many people died. Most of what I know reaction wise is what my older family members and teachers have told me. My mom told me that it caused everyone in the United States to fear what might come next. I have seen footage of the towers burning and falling, and people jumping out of the windows, it caused me to have a sad reaction because it is something that actually occurred and affected many people.”
Kaidence Ragen

“For my generation 9/11 does not seem out of the ordinary. Tragedies occur on an almost weekly basis now, so I feel like my generation forgets that this was the first time something of this magnitude occurred.”
Kourtney Ridge

“9/11 was a terrible day in the world. When I first learned about 9/11 it made me mad more than sad because the fact that people would do that. Watching the Twin Towers fall down and people jumping out of the building was the scariest thing to see. I couldn’t think about how the survivors feel right now from all of that. It definitely wasn’t the best sight to see or be in, not knowing it was going to happen.”
Hallie Rogers

“Even though I wasn’t alive during 9/11 it still had an impact on my life today. I can’t necessarily say I have deep emotions for it because all i’ve seen was videos, but it still saddens me that it even happened in the first place. I saw a video of people jumping off the Twin Towers from almost the top because they knew they weren’t going to survive. In 8th grade I went to NYC and visited the memorial and it has the deep vibe when you come to it. You can just sense the sadness there.”
Luke Smith

“Nowadays, 9/11 is not spoken of often. I do not have a ton of knowledge on the subject, but I do know. Most of our generation does not remember the dramatic effects this event had on its time.”
Noah Snodgrass:

“I personally wasn’t affected by 9/11 or do I know of anyone who was affected by 9/11. But I do think it was a very tragic event and should be seen as a horrible thing that occurred. Over the years I’ve taken a lot of classes that have gone over 9/11 for very long parts of the class. So I feel like my class is very informed about the topic since we have heard about it repetitively for years.”
Brett Spears

“I was born in the year following September 11, 2001. Although I wasn’t alive when the attack happened, I feel like I know just as much as someone that was alive. Each year our school has taught us the basics of what occured. I’ve seen many videos of the planes hitting the towers and how Americans reacted. Our teachers and parents have taught us the impact that it had on the United States. It’s so important for us to know about the attacks of 9/11 because it’s still affecting us today and it will continue to do so in the future. Even though kids my age have learned about about 9/11, it still isn’t the same. We are missing the real life experience. We may know the rundown of what happened, but we don’t know that feeling of the fear, panic, sadness, and chaos of that day. We will never know that feeling of first finding out what happened. Every September 11th that comes around, I will always remember the lives that were lost.”
Ashley Vinson

“I wasn’t born yet during 9/11 but I know the effect it’s had on our country and millions of lives in it. Our history and English teachers take a whole week sometimes to show us videos of what happened so we can get a feel of it. Just watching and hearing about it just sends chills down my spine in the sense that so many lives were affected and in the same sense of how we came together as a country and what all our police and fire departments did to help.”
Amari Welcome