A firefighter stares at the World Trade Center complex during the attacks on September 11, 2001, also known today as the 9/11 attacks.

September 11th – 15 Years Later

The September 11th attacks and their repercussions have remained emblazoned upon the modern consciousness and an inseparable part of historical and political discussion for the 15 years since they occurred. Many consider these attacks to be the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century; they have modified the American reality and international attitudes in ways the public is still grappling with to this day.

While we may never know the full extent of how or why the incidents of September 11, 2001 occurred, while a multitude of people still push for truth in an era of conspiracy theories as The Inquisitr’s own Ryan Anthony reports, one thing is certain. The intervention in the Middle East and its consequences, the USA PATRIOT Act and its implications for civil liberties and broad surveillance in times of fear, new attacks and unpredictability, the rise of ISIS, and the sweeping changes to something as routine as air travel have all culminated in a precarious international outlook and an uncertainty about our collective future.

In the years since 9/11, we have experienced a multitude of senseless attacks that have resulted in shocking bloodshed and destruction. A mere four years after 9/11 came the 2005 London bombings that targeted public transport; more recently, there were the November 2015 attacks in Paris and knife attacks in Tokyo in July of this year that proved to be one of Japan’s deadliest incidents since World War II.

Two women at a candlelight vigil in New York City join in the solidarity surrounding the September 11th "9/11" attacks on the World Trade Center and elsewhere.
New Yorkers Megan Mari and Rachel Fairweather take part in a candlelight vigil in a show solidarity after the September 11th “9/11” attacks on the World Trade Center. [Photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images]

How should we feel when these highly random, severely devastating attacks continue to occur every month, every year? The governments of the world face a steep challenge, not only in their attempts to stem the continuation of attacks, but in dealing with the refugee crisis, 11 million of which have fled from Syria since the start of a civil war in March 2011. The Middle East region has proven to be a hotbed of conflict, perpetual war with illusory targets taxing our armed forces and creating vacuums from which current terror groups like ISIS can spring forth.

To return to that tragic day to which the world refers to with weight as “September 11th,” the date stamp of 9/11 echoing the American phone number of emergency, we must look to the solidarity that has emerged not only among Americans who had experienced the most devastating attack on their country’s soil in decades, but also first responders and civilians who rushed to the aid of those who needed it, sympathy and support coming from those abroad; scores of nations holding reveries for the dead and injured, an interconnected shared feeling, a questioning of what was to come.

Those first responders on that September day, the selfless men and women of New York City and Washington, D.C. who rushed to their stations to do whatever was necessary are still dealing with the effects of that day 15 years later. ABC News reports occurrences of lung problems, asthma, cancer, all stemming from exposure to toxic chemicals in the dust and debris that surrounded those who assisted in the remains of the World Trade Center not only on September 11th, but for the several months that followed as well.

Workers who assisted during the September 11th attacks and after at the wreckage site of the World Trade Center known as "Ground Zero" are still grappling with respiratory issues 15 years after 9/11.
A worker wipes his brow at the World Trade Center wreckage site known as “Ground Zero,” two days after the September 11th attacks. [Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images]

The unfortunate truth is that our world has been irreversibly scarred by the events of 9/11. NBC News echoes concerns over curtailed civil liberties in the name of national security, as Kathy Gilsinan of The Atlantic speaks of those affected by the September 11th attacks, she recounts how they “joined the military, got into politics, or ditched stable jobs to document the ‘War on Terror.'”

That pivotal September day has inspired many things among the American populace. Patriotism, fear, love, anger, and even a desire to avenge the lives lost. However, the most resounding sentiment that pervaded the U.S. after the attacks was resolve. The words “Never Forget” and the solidarity and empathy Americans showed toward their fellow citizens were palpable in the months that followed the attacks on 9/11. As human civilization marches forward in a time of ever-shrinking global ties and daunting potential as well as risk, we can only take what we learned from the September 11th attacks and the collective resolve that resulted to construct a more viable society, a world that will “Never Forget” the impact of such catastrophe and the vast changes it ushered forth for the people of this world.

[Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images]

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