In my thought I say I love that little girl. My brothers of course are moving in slow motions like a sloth in a tree. I am aggressively pushing them along and barking orders at them tell them what to do like a drill sergeant in the Army. Wash your face, Brush your teeth and Make sure you brush your hair. Now that I have gotten the boys up and moving I head to the kitchen to get breakfast going. Not long after finish the siblings start rolling in. My sister first so nice and chipper like she is skipping in a garden and picking flowers as she goes, how she can be that happy that early in the morning I will never understand. I finally boys come dragging their feet into the kitchen and flopping in a chair. Still grumbling about being up so early complaining about how I could have let them sleep longer. Now here is where the really trouble begins now that they are all in the same room. So now the brothers start to bother their little sister since the breakfast they are eating seems to miraculously give them a turbo boot of energy. All I can hear is Stop leave me alone, laughing and name calling going at the table behind me.
My job as a big sister mother like role comes in to play; I turn to them and yell Leave her alone before I start on yall! Breakfast is all done now it is time to round up the troops and get them to the bus stop. Making sure they have their book bags and everything that goes in it. Once we have jackets and book bags on we make our venture up the winding driveway to the bus stop. After the bus arrives I head back down the driveway, and now have to get myself ready for school and head back down to the bus stop to get myself off to school. Now on the bus were take normal route and pickup kids. We head to the middle school to drop them off and now we head to the high school. While heading to the high school the bus driver received a call and was taking alternate route to drop us off at the school. We can see the route we normally take and there are cars backed up down the street. We thought that we had another bomb threat since that was kinda normal at our school.
Once inside and we headed to homeroom we were told that planes had crashed into a building in New York. We turned on the news in the classroom because we wanted to know the details of what was going on. As we watched the news started report the approach of a second plane and we watched in real time the second plane crash into the second building. Not really understanding what was going on the new reports that it was a terrorist attack happening. Instantly it made since why we had to take a different route to school that day. Our school is Next to one of the biggest Army training bases. So of course the locked down the base no one in and no one out, which caused the traffic to back up around the school. The students reaction was mixed the students bombards the teacher with questions that at this time she had no answers for. Some student continues like it was nothing, other started crying knowing that they had loved ones that worked in those building.
Many were sad because they knew that their mom and dad maybe deployed somewhere and would be gone for a long time. My reaction was why anyone would want to crash planes into these particular set of building, why would they risk their own lives doing so. While all of this was going on the intercom came on and announcing that the teacher turn off the television and try to continue the day as normal. In reality the day would not every be normal. We had so many unanswered questions. How could we continue the day like we had not seen what we seen or heard what we heard. Some teacher complied with the instruction others did not. One of the teacher found that it was important to have some clarification on what was going on. She began to tell us about what was being reported through the day. Since now it is almost time to go home there had been more progress on what had just happened that morning. She said that there had been a terrorist attack and the people they think is responsible were a Muslim group called Al Qaeda.
My next thought was what Al Qaeda is and what did being Muslim have to do with it. I later learned that prior to September 11, 2001 the country moved along at its regular daily pace. Conflict and wars have been a component of the United States since the beginning of time. There are three sources conflict: human rights, global terrorism, and environmental problems. Many see terrorism as a way to hide greed, racism, and the conquests of power. Terrorism is defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigations as an unlawful use of force or violence against person or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002-2005). Terrorism makes the statement that demands attention and affects every person in every country around the world. On that clear Tuesday morning; September 11, 2001, nineteen Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations boarded four fully fueled American airliners. These airliners were set to depart to cities in California.
Little did the staff for each of the planes or the people boarding them know that plans had changed. Within the space of an hour, al Qaeda wreaked more direct damage on the United States than the Soviet Union had done throughout the entire cold war, a tragedy seen by more people than any other event in history. (Bergen, 2006) Many questions were garnered after September 11, 2001. What caused this horrific attack and whos to blame for it? Was this attack forecasted, could we have seen it coming and prevented it? What do we do now and how do we prevent it from happening again? People in America were terrified but at the same time came together in the face of tyranny. On September 11, 2001, nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda boarded and hijacked four American airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. At 8:45 a.m. an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The impact left a huge, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, immediately killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, eighteen minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767United Airlines Flight 175appeared out of the sky, turned abruptly toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor. The impact caused a massive explosion that rained down burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. It was at this point everyone knew America was under attack. (9/11 Attacks, 2012)
As millions were watching the events unfold in New York, American Airlines Flight 77 circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and crashed into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9:45 a.m. Jet fuel from the Boeing 757 caused a overwhelming firestorm that led to the structural collapse of a portion of the enormous concrete building. All told, 125 military personnel and civilians were killed in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the airliner. (9/11 Attacks, 2012) It was initially thought that this plane was bound for the White House or the Capitol Building; however, because of lack of visibility coming from the west as it did objects obscured these targets making the terrorists change their plans and crash into the Pentagon. (Limbacher, 2001)
Less than fifteen minutes after the attack on the Pentagon; things became much worse in New York. The south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed bringing a huge cloud of smoke and dust. The building that could withstand 200 miles per hour winds, could not withstand the heat of the burning jet fuel and eventually the structural steel buckled and collapsed. Within minutes the North tower fell to the same fate. Approximately 3,000 people were killed, both inside the buildings as well as people in the vicinity. An extremely large number of firefighters and paramedics (343), police officers (23), and Port Authority police officers (37) were killed while trying to complete an evacuation of the buildings. Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived. (9/11 Attacks, 2012).
During the time that the towers were collapsing, a fourth plane bound for San Francisco, CA was being hijacked. Due to this plane being delayed in taking off, the passengers on board learned of the events transpiring in New York City and Washington D.C. through the use of the Airfones and cell phone calls from relatives on the ground. Since the passengers knew that this plane was not bound for an airport they decided to take matters into their own hands. The passengers fought the four hijackers and are suspected to have attacked the cockpit with a fire extinguisher. The plane flipped over and sped toward the ground at a speed of upwards of 500 miles per hour, crashing in a rural field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:10 a.m. All 45 people aboard were killed. Its initial target has never been completely determined; however, it is believed that it was bound for the White House, the U.S. Capitol, or one of several nuclear power plants along the eastern seaboard. (9/11 Attacks, 2012)
The people aboard Flight 93 have been deemed heroes, as their actions that day saved possibly hundreds if not thousands of lives. After being transported around the country due to security concerns, President George W. Bush returned to the White House around 7 p.m. At 9 p.m. he addressed the United States from the Oval Office, affirming, Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. In a reference to the eventual U.S. military response he declared, We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. (9/11 Attacks, 2012)
As a result of the attacks, America led an international operation to expel the Taliban command in Afghanistan and to destroy al Qaedas terrorist cells based there. Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7th 2001, and within two months U.S. forces had successfully overthrown and removed the Taliban from operational power. However, the war had to continue as U.S. and coalition forces attempted to expel a Taliban insurgency in neighboring Pakistan. Many of the al Qaedas top lieutenants were captured or killed, to include its bin Ladens second in charge and the overall mastermind of the attacks Ayman al-Zawahiri. (McCarthy & Luke Harding, 2002) Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and financier of the September 11 attacks was able to escape U.S. forces until he was finally traced to a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed by U.S. forces on May 2, 2011. (9/11 Attacks, 2012)
As Americans, when a tragedy like September 11, 2001 happens to us, our first reaction is obviously to be frightened. We then came together as a country much like we did after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our next reaction is to ask questions; how did this happen, could we have avoided it happening, why did it happen, and how do we prevent it from happening again. There are many theories as to why 9/11 happened; however, we will never know for sure, we can only speculate based off information provided to us by our government and media. U.S. foreign policy is believed to be one of the most influential reasons for the attacks. Bin Laden opposed the United States support of Israel. The support that the U.S. gives to Israel especially Israels invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982 triggered Bin Ladens anti-Americanism. In 1980s his anti-Americanism took the form of boycotting U.S. goods. His hatred only grew by the export of 500,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia after Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait in 1990. (Bergen, 2006)
Other possible reasons or causes for the attacks were a clash within Islam. Michael Scott Doran talked about 9/11 being a result of a conflict within the Muslim world in a Foreign Affairs essay, Somebody Elses Civil War. Doran contended that Bin Ladens followers consider themselves an island of true believers surrounded by a sea of immorality and think that the future of religion itself, and therefore the world depends on them and their battle. In particular, Egyptians in al Qaeda, such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, hold this view, inheriting it from Sayyid Qutb, who believed that most of the modern middle east is living in a state of pagan ignorance. The Egyptian jihadists believed that they should overthrow the near enemy-middle east regimes run by apostate rulers. Bin Laden took the next step, urging Zawahiri that the origin of the problem was not the near enemy but the far enemy, the US, which supported the status quo in the middle east. (Doran, 2002)
Globalization and a desire to provoke the United States have been inferred by political analysts as possible motives for the attacks. Bernard Lewis wrote a book called The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. He is the best-known advocate of the idea that the Muslim world is in a crisis largely attributable to centuries of decline, represented by the fate of the once powerful Ottoman Empire and its humiliating carve-up by the British and French after the First World War. Lewis also contends that the problems of the Middle East were later compounded by the introduction of two western ideas; socialism and a worldly Arab nationalism.
Neither of them delivered on their assurances of creating wealthy and impartial societies. (Lewis, 2003) Three weeks after 9/11, as the US began launching air strikes against Taliban positions, a video of Bin Laden sitting on a rocky ridge was broadcast on Al-Jazeera. On the tape, Bin Laden stated, What America is tasting now is something insignificant compared to what we have tasted for scores of years. The Islamic world has been tasting this humiliation and this degradation for 80 years¦ Neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live in it in Palestine, and not before the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad. Bin Laden accentuated the humiliation of the Muslim world and the negative effect of US policies in the Middle East thus agreeing with Bernard Lewis statements in his book. (Bergen, 2006)
Obviously one of the most defining negative impacts of 9/11 was the amount of lives lost on September 11, 2001; as well as the number of lives still in jeopardy as a result of the War on Terror. The 9/11 attack killed 2,973 people, including Americans and foreign nationals but excluding the terrorists. (U.S. deaths in Iraq, war on terror surpass 9/11 toll, 2006) Since the beginning of the Afghan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) in 2001 up to the current day, there have been 2,104 U.S. servicemen and women who have lost their lives. That number includes both combat deaths as well as military suicides that occurred in Afghanistan. (Suarez, 2012) Although the War in Iraq was not directly linked to 9/11, the attacks help jump start that war since the initial reasoning for going to war was Iraq harboring terrorists and having a surplus of weapons of mass destruction. The total number of American soldiers that have been killed to date as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom is 4486 lives. (Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 2012)
The Patriot Act could be looked upon as a positive outcome of the 9/11 attacks. The Patriot Act was appropriately blatant. Before 9/11, soldiers were considered the patriots; units like Special Forces were considered to be the tip of freedom. Now the FBI and prosecutors were to have that same privilege, the same authorization to hunt down enemies without much oversight or interference.
When it was signed into law six weeks after the attacks, the act made it easier to wiretap American citizens suspected of cooperating with terrorism, to investigate business records without notification, and to execute search warrants without immediately informing the targets. Privileges once set aside for overseas intelligence work were extended to domestic criminal investigations. There was less judicial oversight and very little transparency. The bills symbolism mattered also, signaling that the moral deference previously given to the Special Forces would be extended until it incorporated much of the apparatus of the American state. (Wallace-Wells, 2011)
There are some that feel that Americans civil rights have been violated since 9/11. The ACLU for instance, they disagree with the principles of the Patriot Act. They summarized that The Patriot Act enormously and unconstitutionally expanded the governments power to interfere in peoples private lives with little or no evidence of wrongdoing. Years after its enactment, there is little evidence to prove that the Patriot Act has made America more secure from terrorists. But there are many unfortunate examples that the government abused these authorities in ways that both violated the rights of innocent people and misspent precious security resources. (Dean, 2011)
September 11, 2001 will be a day that stays in every Americans memory as one of the most tragic days in American history. It was a day where hijackers boarded planes, flew them into our buildings and murdered thousands of Americans. Even though as a country we prevailed in the War on Terror as well as the War in Iraq, we will continue to feel the negative impacts of this day. One definite positive outcome is that every American citizen remembered what it was to be an American citizen and to treasure the freedom that we have. To all the Americans that lost their lives on that day and all the soldiers that continue to fight for our freedom at home and abroad; We Will Never Forget You.
U.S. deaths in Iraq, war on terror surpass 9/11 toll. (2006, September 3). Retrieved from CNN.com: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/03/death.toll/
9/11 Attacks. (2012). Retrieved from The History Channel: http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. (2012). Retrieved from icasualties.org: http://icasualties.org/
Bergen, P. (2006). What Were the Causes of 9/11? New America Foundation.
Dean, J. (2011, September 9). Reflections on the 9/11 Atttacks Lasting Impact on America, and American Law. Retrieved from Verdict: http://verdict.justia.com/2011/09/09/reflections-on-the-911-attacks-lasting-impact-on-america-and-american-law
Doran, M. S. (2002, February). Somebody Elses Civil War. Retrieved from Foreign Affairs: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/57618/michael-scott-doran/somebody-elses-civil-war
Lewis, B. (2003). The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. New York: Modern Library, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of a division of Random House, Inc.
Limbacher, C. (2001, September 16). Cheney: Pentagon Plane was Headed for White House. Retrieved from Newsmax.com: http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/9/16/131111.shtml
McCarthy, R., & Luke Harding. (2002, February 17). Bin Ladens Number 2 Said Captured In Iran. Retrieved from Rense.com: http://rense.com/general20/cap.htm
Suarez, R. (2012, August 24). U.S. Military Death Toll in Afghan War Reaches New Milestone. Retrieved from PBS News Hour: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/july-dec12/afghanistan_08-24.html
Wallace-Wells, B. (2011, August 27). Patriot Act. The kitchen-sink approach to national security.