Today we take a moment to remember those lost on September 11, 2001 during the attacks on the United States.
On the day of September 11, 2001 I was sitting in English class watching a movie about MacBeth, one of the famous plays written by William Shakespeare. Another teacher entered the room, whispered something to my English teacher, in which she immediately stood up, turned off the MacBeth movie and switched to the news.
That was when the first time I saw smoke smoldering from the World Trade Center in New York City.
“This is unbelievable,” my teacher kept repeating.
At first it was hard for me to grasp what I was seeing. The last time the United States had any type of attack on its soil was the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941. The last type of warfare on the mainland was during the Civil War from 1861-1865.
Then people started jumping.
The bell in the high school rang. We switched classes.
Then the twin towers of the World Trade Center crumbled. One, then the other. Wait, there are more planes? One crashed in Pennsylvania? The bell rang again.
On that day, nearly 3,000 lives were lost. Four passenger airlines were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center towers. One plane crashed into the Pentagon. The last one, heading to Washington, D.C. crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers tried to take the plane back from the hijackers.
I visited New York City a few years ago and stayed in a hotel that overlooked Ground Zero. It was eerie and unimaginable to think of what it was truly like that day. I was in a high school in Ohio, while at that very spot so many innocent lives were lost.
Now, even 13 years later, I think many people are still trying to process what happened that day.
There are different motives discussed on why the attacks happened. The U.S. support of attacks on Muslims, the support of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the support of Israel, the different sanctions on Iraq, the list continues. When I traveled to Europe this past summer I talked with someone who thought 9-11 was a conspiracy of the U.S. government.
“So you’re saying the U.S. government planned 9-11 so we would have motive to invade Iraq for oil?” I asked. I felt this intensity start to rumble in the pit of my stomach.
Each year there are so many innocent lives lost and there are never any substantial answers as to why. Just yesterday President Obama announced he ordered an aerial bombing campaign on ISIS.
It’s important to remember not only on today, but always, the innocent lives lost during conflict. It’s important to note, that even though we won’t all agree on certain things, that life is so fragile and too short. I hope International Student Voice Magazine can serve as an advocate for all of you, while you’re studying in the United States and also if/when you return home. Only when we stand together–educate each other, understand each other, and support each other, we can save lives.
Editor in Chief
International Student Voice Magazine