On Sept. 11, 2001, the extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airliners to carry out suicide attacks against multiple locations, including the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, and the Pentagon near Washington D.C. The fourth plane, once the hijacking plan was thwarted, crash landed in Pennsylvania.
This terrorist attack ended the lives of over 3,000 people.
Today marks the 13th anniversary of this national tragedy. Though a majority of college students today were children then, the effects of that September morning are still prevalent – even if they didn’t fully understand the attack’s implications on their futures.
Jake Summers, freshman in open option, was a kindergartener in 2001. He has only vague memories of the day, but said he remembers his mother’s concern for a family member.
“I remember it happening and getting out of school, and not really knowing what was going on at that time,” Summers said, “But I do remember my mom sort of freaking out a little bit, because we did have relatives up in New York at the time. One of my uncles was up there doing business, but that’s all I really remember.”
Summers’ uncle was just far enough away from the World Trade Center to avoid harm.
“He wasn’t at the towers when they fell down, but he was around the area,” Summers said. “He (ended up being) covered by plumes of smoke, so he was there when the first tower came down. He heard the first one fall, and then he was (nearby) to watch when the second one fell down.”
Although Summers did not personally feel much of an impact from 9/11, he said he understands that many people lost their sense of national and personal security.
The international effects from the terrorist attack were felt by students as well. Kunyan Wei, senior in architecture and product design, said he was in elementary school when the World Trade Center towers fell. As a foreign exchange student, Wei had a unique perspective of the consequences.
“Since I was in China, not in U.S., for me it was just, ‘There’s worldwide news all over the place,'” Wei said. “Everyone (was) sad on that day, so that’s all I (remember) from that point.”
Even in China, 9/11 received a large amount of media attention.
“Every single channel (was) on that news, and everyone (was) talking about (9/11),” Wei said. “I think our public security was reaching another level; every single country I think (was) doing the same thing.”
Security measures were also increased dramatically overseas.
“They double-checked when people were deporting, departure and everything basically,” Wei said. “They just doubled the police, doubled the (police) dogs. They were just trying to avoid (this happening in China). It already happened in U.S. I mean, there are Chinese people in that building.”
The effects of the 9/11 terrorist attack were extensive and felt worldwide. Even though Kansas is thousands of miles away from any of the crash sites, each person in the state was affected in a profound way – even if he or she wasn’t old enough to understand the attack at the time.