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Weingarten: Remembering 9/11

Thinking about the moment the world froze
In+honor+of+those+who+died+on+9%2F11+a+memorial+was+set+up+outside+of+Parks+Library+on+Sept.+11%2C+2023.+
Brittany Huston
In honor of those who died on 9/11 a memorial was set up outside of Parks Library on Sept. 11, 2023.

In 2018, I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit family. My aunt had many excursions lined up for me, as it was my first time traveling to the eastern side of the U.S. Among these activities was visiting New York City.

New York City has always been a monolith. It is the epitome of a metropolis (at least by U.S. standards) and is a staggering experience for an inexperienced traveler. 

My journey started in Ephrata, a small township in Pennsylvania’s vast and hilly countryside. It was roughly two hours from Philadelphia and approximately three hours from New York City. 

The lush forests of varied colors flew by the whole ride. East, west, north and south, the U.S. has some of the most beautiful landscapes that exist. However, what caught my eye was the beaming tower shooting out from the top of the trees as we approached New York City limits: the One World Trade Center.

It signified something so impressive yet so drastic and terrible. It symbolically represented what was lost on that fateful day in 2001.

At Ground Zero lies the imprints of the massive Twin Towers that were attacked and defiled along with the people inside them. Seeing the site where many people lived, worked, and ultimately perished was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. 

People my age do not remember 9/11 the same way our parents or grandparents do. We cannot recall from memory the exact events and details as they happened on TV, nor can we offer a story of what we were doing at that exact moment when the world froze. To be at such a place, in real life, as opposed to learning from the documentaries and stories that painted a broad image of the event in my mind, puts life into a new perspective. 

On this journey, I learned that I had a distant family member who died on impact from the plane. A good man with a bright future in his profession, his life ended abruptly and viciously like so many others. 

Roses were slotted through some of the nameplates of the fallen at Ground Zero, representing a birthday that could no longer be celebrated. All of this was humbling, agonizing, yet enlightening.

We owe it to ourselves to remember this day and continuously think of what we can learn. Twenty-two years ago sounds long ago, but the lessons are still just as applicable.

We need to hold those in power accountable, decry religious fundamentalism and the fire-stoking nature of imperialism. Many factors were at play, and many were to blame for the September 11th attacks. However, there are also innocent people who no longer exist and families who don’t get to enjoy their company. 

For this reason, we must not forget, even when the anniversary passes us.

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  • D

    David Jackson | Sep 12, 2023 at 9:41 pm

    “…and many were to blame for the September 11th attacks.”

    Who all qualify as the many?

    Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Sep 13, 2023 at 8:05 pm

      Hi David, thanks for commenting. I think the government stoked the flame with its imperialism in the Middle East, but I am obviously aware it is the fault of Islamic fundamentalists. My goal in the article was to decry the antagonistic relationship that has plagued us long after 9/11.

      Reply