9-11: 20 years after

Sep 10, 2021

This is an Associated Press photo from Sept. 11, 2001, showing the attack on the twin towers.


Students hark back to how they learned of 9-11


Now young adults, those who were either just born or at least one year of age during the time of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, are taking a step back into the past to remember how they learned about that day.

Although the day may be a bit hazy for most 20-somethings, a few have vivid details.

“My aunt worked there, and she was supposed to go in for a meeting the day the attack happened. Thank God she didn’t,” Miss Claflin Leslie-Payton Alston said.

Miss Claflin also spoke to the fact that even though the senior and junior classes were extremely young and probably remembered little about the actual upsetting occurrences, sophomores and freshmen probably know nothing except for what they’ve been told because they were not yet on the earth.

“For us that’s only some years but for them it’s forever ago,” Alston said.

Ronitra Wilson, a senior at Claflin University, also had a relative that was supposed to be on the scene but happened to be somewhere else.

“My uncle was supposed to go to that building but he ended up going to one of the other towers instead, but he was still there when it happened.”

Another senior, Jahalia Wilson, said that she simply learned about the events in elementary school, but the subject is touchy for her because she is an emotional person.

Along with memories come new thoughts about the day.

Camryn Singleton, also a senior at Claflin, says her mom taught her about the attack.

She said her mother was a speech pathologist and she was with a student when the student’s father came in and alerted her that “the world as we know it is crumbling, the world is over!”

“That freaked her out.”

“Another thing was when I got a little older, probably around 10, I was watching a documentary on it and I could not believe it. They talked about the smog and the smut from the building being knocked over and it scared me, it really scared me as a kid.”

She also believes the 43rd president of the United States had a hand in the attack.

“And then as I got older, I realized that it was (President George W.) Bush who did it cause gasoline doesn’t melt steel bars.”


U.S. has not recovered from 9-11, students say


It’s been 20 years since the United States experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks in human history.

In these past two decades, there’s been a global war against terrorism during which an entire generation of people have been born and raised post-9/11.

Many of those born after 9-11 are now college students and members of society.

At Claflin, some students were asked: “Has the United States recovered yet from 9/11?”

Senior Ashley Oliver said, “No, I don’t think the United States has recovered from 9/11.”

The answer was similar from two other interviewees, sophomore Nia Curry and junior Milana Wiltshire.

“I don’t think that the U.S. has emotionally recovered from 9/11. I believe the long-lasting scar that the event left is in our feeling of safety, especially with air transportation,” Curry said.

Security and safety were the main topics addressed by Curry and Wiltshire.

“9/11 isn’t something  that the U.S. could get over,” Wiltshire said, “because things had changed and are continuing to change (with) security on both the national and homeland level.”

She cited “the extensive background checks and questions done for you to get back into the country, even if you’re a citizen.”


Too little known about 9-11


When the date Sept. 11, 2001, is mentioned, it tends to evoke many feelings among Americans.

What about the Americans who were in diapers on the infamous date of terrorist attacks on the United States? What do today’s youth know about 9-11?

The answer is not much according to college students in Orangeburg. Three Claflin students were asked what Sept. 11, 2001, means to them and what they think would have been different if today's generation had been in charge.

Freshman Jasausha Pope said, “I know that it was when the terrorists hijacked a plane and they flew into the World Trade Center. I could feel for the families involved, like I don’t know how I would feel in that position if my parents were involved or people I knew.”

Although Pope was born two years after 9-11, she learned about it from her parents and school.

As to today's generation being in charge, she said, “I think our advanced technology would have helped with security.”

And regarding an end to the war in Afghanistan that resulted from the terror attacks and the current flow of Afghan refugees out of that country, she said, “I don’t feel ill towards the refugees because if the roles were reversed, we would want them to take us in too.”

Pope’s neutral and accepting feelings toward the refugees reflect a common trend in her generation. Her sister Adaje’ Pope said, "I feel bad because I didn’t know."

Junior Nia Bostick said, "I really feel like a lot of people in our generation don’t care about a lot of things, especially about the important things.”


‘I was too young to remember’ 9-11


Claflin students know what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, with the terrorist attacks on the U.S. but were too young to remember that day personally.

‘It really didn’t have an effect on my life it because I wasn’t born that day,” junior Malcom White said.

Senior Josh Daniels said, “I was too young to remember so I really wasn’t there to see it that day, but I just give my condolences to those families,” senior Josh Daniels said.

Sophomore Rushell Green had different thoughts on 9-11.

She said that it “was horrible and it had taught us Americans to be more respectful and to come together as a whole when things happen like this and that we need to show more respect.”

Nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9-22-2001 when terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center in New York and The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Another hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all aboard.


Why is Sept 11 important?


On Tuesday morning Sept. 11,2001, Americans' lives changed forever.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks. Three attacks occurred over the span of three hours. The Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes, with two of the four being flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Today's students at Claflin University were very young at the time. But they do know the significance of the day.

Senior Ezekiel Pendergrass explained what 9-11 means to him in several different ways.

“I guess because it was a major time in history that was a terrorist attack, I never thought everyone would still be scared to go to out to places.”

The United States is now in a second year battling the coronavirus disease that is similar to when 9-11 occurred and everyone was scared to go out, he said.

Makenzie Leftridge addressed the importance of 9-11.

"It was largest terrorist attack on America and it has directly affected many families," she said.  "The war on terror began and if your brother was ever stationed in Afghanistan, then he fought in it.”

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