Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

15 years later, remembering September 11


This past Sunday marked the fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. These attacks, the largest to ever hit American soil, killed almost 3,000 innocent people, injured over 6,000 more, left innumerable people without loved ones and ultimately changed both our country and the world forever. 15 years later we are still experiencing the ramifications of this tragedy and are still reeling from its immediate aftermath.

I was only four years old in 2001 and, like most of my peers, I don’t truly remember a time before this devastating incident. For example, I have no memory of ever going into an airport and not feeling the presence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or not having to take off my shoes as part of a strange, tedious pre-flight security ritual that I was never able to quite understand until much later in life.

Additionally, due to the fact that the “war on terror” was declared less than a month after the attacks on Sept 11, my peers and I have never really experienced a time of peace. What began as a global battle against terrorist organizations and those that were accused of supporting them, with a focus on Al-Qaeda and similar groups, has grown and evolved over the years to include new terrorist organizations that largely organize on social media and online, something that could not have even been conceived of in 2001.

In fact, although President Barack Obama officially ended the war on terror in 2013, I’m sure many people would agree the fear of terrorist attacks has not ended with it, but has instead been reignited and, if anything, amplified in the past few years with the rise of the Islamic State group and the subsequent rise of terrorist attacks in Westernized nations.

My peers and I have grown up and matured in a time of serious mistrust of foreigners and the government, and that has definitely had a piece in shaping who we are as a generation. But, as a New Yorker, the events of Sept. 11 have also impacted me in a unique way.

I live in a town that is only a 45-minute train ride from Manhattan and I know people who were directly impacted by the attacks, both through witnessing them and even through losing a loved one. However, although the events and the aftermath of 9/11 were obviously heartbreaking, I have also been able to watch one of the most inspiring examples of resilience in history, as New York has recovered in the years since this tragedy: rebuilding, both literally and figuratively.

Today, the site of the World Trade Center is a place of remembrance but also the place where the Freedom Tower stands tall. Likewise, the date of Sept. 11 is more than just a day of remembrance, but is also a day when the nation comes together to give back and volunteer, turning a day of sadness into a day of hope.

Sept. 11 is a day when it is easy to feel hopeless and pessimistic about the state of the world, but it is important that we, in addition to taking time to remember, also take time to focus on positive changes that have been made and those that are sure to come.

Tess Halpern is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    David Hunt 1990Sep 15, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    My essay on 9-11… and what I’ve learned since then:

  • G

    George S. PattonSep 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    My namesake is rolling in his grave about what has happened to the nation that he helped defend and make great. I was at Ground Zero on Sept. 11. Heard the second plane crash into the building. Saw people jump from 75 stories high in desperation. Watched later that day as two 110 story buildings crumbled to the ground and ran away from the dust clouds that seemed like tidal waves. Literally witnessed the deaths of a few thousand innocent people. It shakes you to your core. Lost some friends, one who called his wife while trapped at Cantor Fitzgerald and told her he was going to die.

    I grew up in an era where people still believed one American life is worth a lot more than those of other places. It may have been arrogant but it helped us project a certain gravitas around the world. With all of our apologizing and self-defeatism in these Obama years, that is gone. Along with a great deal of patriotism as was written about in the Collegian only days ago.

    The best thing that happened after 9/11 was our response. Bombing the shit out of Afghanistan. Should have included Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia while we were at it. Say what you will about George Bush, for awhile we were actually feared in the Middle East, a place where the power of the sword is the only thing that garners respect. They laugh at us now, and terrorists operate with unfettered impunity.

    Historians will look back, if they haven’t already, and conclude that the Cold War was actually the safest time for mankind. Nation-building and trying to bring freedom to places and people who don’t want it/can’t handle it was the worst idea of all time. The Marshall Plan really only worked once. Things have gotten so bad under Obama and our young people so indoctrinated that they actually support bringing our enemies in our midst under the guise of compassion. What a joke. Look what is happening in Germany. Just today a group of 20 “asylum seekers” instigated a massive brawl in a city in eastern Germany by taunting the residents who live there. Stockholm is now the rape capital of Europe, where in 2015, 100% of rapes were committed by Muslim men.

    We are not all the same. We are not all equal. We may share the same anatomy but that is about it. And there is no reason that we should share the prosperity and peace that the generations before us have so diligently built (not without problems of course) in the name of some faux-liberal ideals that invite our enemies to come and kill us. Wake up people.