Probably the most tragic terrorist attack in US history was carried out by al-Qaeda on September 11th, 2001 in New York, United States. I was nine years old, playing outside on the street with my friends, when suddenly my mom called me from the window. “Jan! Come in here, you need to see this.” From the look on her face, I knew it wasn’t the newest episode of my favourite show. When I watched the news on the TV in Germany, as a nine-year-old kid, I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but I knew something terrible had happened.
So here we are, ten years later. We’re looking back, asking ourselves questions like, “what has changed since then? Has the world become a better place? A worse place? How have we changed?”
I saw videos on YouTube of republicans and democrats standing united, singing songs together. Republicans and democrats are polar opposites, but it seems like the attack united all of them. Now you can say United States of America. Before that, the American people were just united by law, but since 9/11, Americans have come to the point where they view unity as an essential element that brands their country. “Yes we can!” as Obama says. Hope and unity.
On a side note, walking around town, I saw many people encouraging others. Americans do a great job in encouraging others, working together as a team, supporting their friends and helping them grow. That’s something Europeans can learn from them.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day, but a some were rescued and didn’t have to face death. The Associated Press said, “tales of heroism and sacrifice were told, from the police officers who gave their lives while saving others, to the fathers and mothers who were missing from the lives of their children.”
Your children might be young adults now. You might have grandchildren. The American people have the privilege to tell their kids, “We were right there when it happened. And look, now I’m right here. We sustained.”
Al-Qaeda shattered a few lives, but the United States is still the United States nevertheless. The wounds have become scars.
The thing is, terrorism cannot be eliminated. It will always exist. Peace corporations and other organisations that promote the destruction of terrorism will never reach their goal. Terrorism will always exist, and the only thing you can really do is to be in the right place at the right time – the safe place. Such guerrilla-style attacks cannot be discovered before they happen. Once they happen, the facts are laid out, but not before.
Some Americans are paranoid about terrorism. “What if it’s me next?” Let me tell you, there’s really no need to be paranoid about terrorism. The average international terrorist incident rate is around 300 a year, and usually they are small scale incidents. Rarely is anybody killed, because usually the forces get there in time to ice the fire. More people die of liver diseases in the US than terrorist attacks worldwide. It’s just that 9/11 was something we would have never expected. It just came out of the blue. Literally.
Remembering lost ones is always a sad moment, and I respect this nation for staying strong in times like these. I respect that the American people are able to become one family after such a horrible event. I just wish it could stay that way…