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Thoughts on the tenth anniversary of 9/11

Ten years ago I did my normal semi-concious morning stagger towards work. I didn't find out what had happened until I got to Starbucks and saw the news playing on the TV. It was the first week of school, and keeping our students calm, while trying to get up to date info, was difficult.

I remember that people were very frightened - not just that day, but for months, even years afterwards. They felt that America was at war. They felt under constant threat of terrorist attack. They wouldn't fly, and avoided visiting major cities that might be targeted.

It was very strange to me. I'd lived in London during one of the IRA's bombing campaigns. And while the bodycount was much smaller, that really was a constant, on-going threat. And yet it didn't have the same kind of impact. Yes, you might get blown up by a terrorist bomb in the underground on your way to work, in the same way you might get hit by a car when crossing the street. There was never the kind of fear I saw people exhibiting here in the USA after 9/11.

I still don't understand why the reactions were so different. Did London's experience during WWII, during the Blitz, mean that they never had a sense of safety that could be suddenly shattered? I just don't know.

My thoughts are with the friends and families of those killed in the attack ten years ago. Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of Americans feel that the US is so strong and that a direct attack against us seems so impossible that when it actually happens people are shocked out of that sense of mind and many feel their pride was slighted because they were proven wrong-the US isn't infallible. It was similar with the attack at Pearl Harbor that sent us (the majority of the American people) into WWII.

Though I could be wrong. And there are surely other factors/reasons.
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
I was in college at the time, in DC, living a few miles away from Capitol Hill. It's impossible to describe the fear and helplessness. My city was under attack, phone lines jammed, no way to get out of town and reports (later proved false) of car bombs and explosions going off all over the place. But a few days later, I was back on the subway and a while after that I was getting on planes again. Some of us are more resilient than others, I suppose.

Very interesting point you make in your comparison, and my immediate reaction would be to cite British stoicism, but I don't think that's quite right, because we Americans can be a stoic bunch as well. I think that you've tapped onto something with your mention of the scale of the attacks. As for the pervasive nature of people's fear even years afterward, that lands on the American media and the leaderships, since fear mongering is too often their bread and butter.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )