9-11: What it means to today's students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
High school juniors and seniors were just beginning first and second grade when hijackers crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center. Although they didn’t understand what was going on at the time, many still remember it vividly. They watched the footage on TV, talked with family, prayed and wondered what was next.
Growing up in a post-9/11 world, the students have come to expect amped-up security at places like airports, concert venues and sporting events. It’s a world they’ve always lived in.
The terrorist attacks have also forced them to re-evaluate how they view people from different cultures. Some feel more accepting now then ever. Others feel a sense of uncertainty.
A Post reporter interviewed 14 high school juniors and seniors to find out how they felt on that day 10 years ago and how life has changed in the past decade.
Remembering 9/11
***** “I definitely felt kind of nervous because I didn’t know what was going on and I was definitely scared at some ponts just because it was such big thing. I kind of felt like I needed to not let it show that I was scared because my mom and my dad were upset about it, so I kind of had to grow up there for a little bit.”
– Carson Ingram, West Rowan High junior *****
“We were watching the TV, I think it was CNN or MSNBC, and I just remember them showing the footage over and over, and I didn’t understand what was happening, but I saw my dad start crying. That was the first time I had ever seen my dad cry like that, so it kind of struck me as this is real, like this is actually happening.”
– Kristen Wells, A.L. Brown High senior
“I remember going home, and my mom spoke to me and she said we were very blessed, but we were also scared because she was actually in the World Trade Center a month ago and was in the very top floor. We were just blessed that she wasn’t one that was in there on Sept. 11.”
– Logan Ritchie, Carson High senior
******* “I was actually at the dentist’s office whenever we heard about it over the radio and it was such a shock. I remember two of the receptionists at the office in Charlotte were actually just appalled. I didn’t really understand what was going on. … My dad travels a lot for his business, so I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh, was my dad on a plane?’ But he wasn’t.”
– Amy Shank, East Rowan High junior *******
“I understood it was bad, but I didn’t really get what was actually happening. Sept. 11 is actually my parents’ anniversary so they had plans to go out and eat. I remember my mom calling my dad and she was actually really calm, but you could kind of tell that it was upsetting her, so he came home early from work, which never happened. We all just stayed home and watched the news and called family.”
– Chloe Monroe, Carson High senior
“We ended up going outside for a ceremony around the flag and a moment of silence and prayer. We went home and ended up watching it again on TV, and we were actually trying to figure out what was happening to us. At the time, I was only like 7 or 8 years old, so I didn’t really understand it.”
– Damien Washington, A.L. Brown High senior
“My parents got home and all of us kids were outside playing, and they told us that the Twin Towers in New York fell. I had no idea there were even Twin Towers in New York, so it didn’t have much impact on me. But you could tell it affected my mom and dad a lot.”
– Ashlyn Sweet, West Rowan High senior
How has life changed since that day?
****** “It made me and everyone else realize that you are never completely safe even though you may feel like you are. Anything can happen to anyone, even though you won’t expect it.”
– Nanci Lefko, East Rowan High senior *****
“I think about it all the time because I have a cousin in the military. He’s overseas right now, so i think about it every day. Something could happen.”
– Bincent Davis, A.L. Brown High senior
“It definitely made me more aware because it shows me that things like that can happen, that all of a sudden one day something that crazy can happen. You just have to prepare yourself for anything.”
Stephanie Sides, East Rowan junior
***** “I do think about 9/11 and I do think about terrorism and I think about ways that our government tries to keep us safe from things like that. I feel like our government is doing a good job of trying to keep us safe, and I’m just really thankful. I’m not happy that 9/11 happened, but in it happening, it kind of helped us to protect ourselves more and protect the country more.”
– Kristen Wells, A.L. Brown High senior *******
“It’s pretty easy to see when you go on a plane and stuff because we’ve always grown up having to take our shoes and take everything out and get scanned. I hear my parents talk about how it wasn’t always that way.”
– Dalton Parrott, Carson High senior
“I went to Mexico when I was 14 and getting through customs was tough even though we weren’t doing anything wrong. It still made you feel almost like you yourself was a criminal and that you were lucky to get through customs. In reality, it’s just there trying to keep you safe from stuff. It feels like a hassle, but honestly the restrictions are necessary now.”
– Taylor Parker, West Rowan High junior
How has 9/11 affected your tolerance? Are you more or less accepting of people from different backgrounds?
“I think that after learning more about each culture, it’s not as easy to be prejudiced or racist or judgmental of other cultures or other parts of the world because we can’t just judge a certain group of people by the way one person acted.”
– Amy Shank, East Rowan High junior
“It’s kind of opened my eyes that people may be different than me, but we’re all still students. I guess I’ve been more accepting.
– Jared Devlieger, A.L. Brown High senior
“You tell yourself you can’t judge people off their looks because they might be good people, but after Sept. 11 it kind of put a little bit of doubt in your mind and you’re always wondering whether they are or they aren’t.”
– Nathan Fulbright, East Rowan senior
“It’s made me less accepting in some ways just because whenever you see people (from the Middle East) those thoughts come to your head. But then again, you don’t want to group them all together because they’re not all the same, so you can’t just judge one person by their group of people.”
– Nanci Lefko, East Rowan High senior
“I think our generation definitely has to be more tolerate because we go to school with (Muslims). I have nothing against them. I think that they might look different, they might talk different, they might think different than we do, but they are still people and they went through this just as much as we did.”
– Carson Ingram, West Rowan High junior