Voicebox: ”We all became human that week”

Oct. 11, 2001, midnight | By Neela Pal | 19 years, 3 months ago

Students speak out about September 11

”All we can do is sit and give thanks to all those who are helping and count our blessings, because tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.”
-Isatta Mansaray, 10

”I first had a moment of thought, then anger. To think someone had the guts to attack what my grandfather fought for in World War II, what my uncles fought for in Korea, the land they loved, the land of the free, the land they were willing to die for... When I graduate, I will join the army no matter what.”
-Ryan Young, 12

”Ever since the tragedy, emotional columns have littered the pages of newspapers, tearfully reminding us of the victims. The obituaries, however, are more devastating than any article I have read.”
-Katherine Epstein, 10

”Instead of buying a million flags, donate blood. Show your spirit as a helpful person.”
-Carmen Canavan, 10

”We will recover. Washington, D.C., should be a place where children can be proud to live, not scared and worried. This is a country for the free, not people who are enslaved by their fears.”
-Gillian Gower, 9

”I wish that God had taken me instead of the thousands of innocent people. So many kids became orphans and so many women became widows at the same time. My mind was like videotape. After watching the planes crash, I recorded the events in my mind. The video keeps on replaying in my mind, and I start to cry.”
-Meenakshi Moerahoe, 9

”We feel and think, 'We America, y'all can't touch us. No one can!' Well, someone did, and now everyone is crying. Also, America keeps interfering in the Middle East. We front like we care, but we really just want something, in this case it is oil. We should worry about ourselves and not interfere with other countries. So this is what we get.”
-Lola Akande-Elemoso, 12

”It was hate that did this, pure, unadulterated hate. So, to overcome this and unite as a nation, we must love. Love pure and love strong to build happiness.”
-Tamielle Horn, 12

”I keep on asking myself what kind of species we are, who plots to destroy one another. I keep on asking what the people on those planes felt when they knew they were going to die. I even think about what the terrorists were thinking when they boarded the planes, knowing it was the last thing they would ever do.”
-Nebyou Gennene, 12

”On the way home from school, I could hear and see the F-16 fighter jets fly through my neighborhood. I could see the tear-stained face of my ten-year-old neighbor who started crying because he thought the jet was about to crash into his home. Worst of all, I remember standing in the library during lunch that day, while the face of the girl in front of me turned red, her eyes started to tear, her entire body trembling as she stared at the screen in disbelief.”
-Caleb Lee, 12

”What the terrorists did was wrong. But we were wrong also. After we grieve and unite as a country to defend ourselves, we should take a long look at our government and ourselves, to fix our wrongs before we fix someone else's.”
-Bakari Kamau, 12

”Once in a while, say 'I love you' to your parents because you never know, that may be the last time you see them.”
-Colin Willis, 12

”Why do I look like I don't care? Why can I still laugh at my friends, joke with them, speak to them about happy, light-hearted things? Why can I do this, when so many are suffering, when so many have died? What gives me the right? I can because I am weak. I couldn't stand the sorrow, the depression, the anger. I'm not strong enough to live with tears swelling at the corners of my eyes and my voice cracking at every word. So I erect a barrier, hide in my sanctuary, where death and sorrow cannot find me. A place in my mind that never saw the bombing, that never caught a glimpse of the blood and never heard of the valiant rescuers that were killed when the buildings collapsed.”
-Aric Lin, 12

”The first thing America's government should do is calm down and focus on healing. We should examine our presence in foreign countries; the dynamics of US foreign politics have drastically changed. America is no longer an invincible mediator — we became human that week.”
-Daniel LaRocque, 10

”I know that the United States can pull through and win the war against whoever really did this. I only hope people don't confuse racism with patriotism.”
-Ted Davis, 11

”Being Indian has not been pleasant lately. I have heard rumors of some of my Indian friends being confronted by ignorant people who demanded why they hated America, even though Indians look nothing like Middle Easterners. I hope this ignorant minority can be educated.”
-Richie Manikat, 11

”One of my mother's cousins worked at the World Trade Center on the 110th floor. Tuesday was his day off. It's ironic—he was about to quit his job that weekend, but it turns out that the terrorists did it for him.”
-Christian Avalos, 11

”My aunt was working in Midtown Manhattan when the first plane hit. She evacuated the city in a ferry with several corpses being taken to the morgue. Imagine her anger times millions. "You don't want to be Arab in New York; you really don't want to be Arab,” is what my aunt said.”
-Samuel Danus, 12

”It's time for those with grief, sorrow and questions to step back and look for rationale and solid reasons, not just platitudes. For these horrors to end, we must take care of the heart of the matter, deeper than violence, deeper than terrorism. May God comfort those in sadness.”
-”JS”, 10

”One thing I don't believe is that in Virginia an Arab man was pulled over and beaten because he was Muslim. I fear for my life as a person who strongly believes in my religion.”
-Fatime Munu, 10

”Last night I had a bad dream involving terrorism and low-flying planes. The most horrific part of the dream was what happened to the bad guy in the end. Even as the news was unfolding on Tuesday, I was hoping that our response would be within the realm of reason. Now I won't be surprised if it isn't.”
-Tom Johnson, 11

”In the future, I believe that we will all see this as a time for remembrance and, in some ways, our finest hour. These past few days, the United States has really united and bonded together to help survive the tragedy. It is no longer who believes in what, but what we as a country believe together.”
-Elise Harvey, 9

”Tuesday will be a day that I remember for the rest of my life. It marked the start of another stage in my life. Less than a month ago, I thought that the U.S. was my home, my refuge, my protector. My security has been destroyed.”
-Tina Kariya, 9

”I'm mad at the people who did this, but I'm [angrier] at the U.S., because it should have known that something like this was going to happen. Why? Because the U.S. always puts its nose in places and situations that don't concern it, because it is so powerful. I think the U.S. is the only one at fault and it better solve this situation.”
-Camilo Torres, 12

”September 11, 2001 will forever be a page of history. This surprise attack will probably open up a new perspective for America. The economy will fall down due to the confusion and insecurity of the country. The U.S. military will face a new challenge of determining the cause of this tragedy. Government will spend billions of dollars for reparations. After this tragedy, the war of prejudice and stereotypes will begin. And this time, the war will be even more devastating. Another American tragedy will go down in history.”
-Tho Le, 12

”As I talked to one of the security guards in our school, I was surprised to see tears in his eyes. He told me that he was my age when the towers were built. Now, after seeing what is left under the rubble, he cannot hold back his tears.”
-Dung Nguyen, 12

”My family has been affected dramatically, especially my little brother, who has been afraid ever since Tuesday. He has been crying just before bedtime, telling me he is afraid of dying. Since when do you hear an eight-year-old talking about death?”
-Kenny Gutierrez, 12

”If we do go to war with the evil country that's attacked the U.S., I want to tell the president to not only bring them to justice, but also to put them down, make them get down on their knees. These people are low and haven't earned the right to call themselves human beings. Only animals attack.”
-Makara Suon, 12

My friend Hannah in New York told me an interesting story about a man she met after the attack. Hannah found out that he actually worked at the World Trade Center. He then went to say that on Tuesday morning, he had been running late for work. He got off of the subway to see his office exploding. The reason he was late to work, she told me, was because that particular morning he took ten extra minutes to pray.”
-Jake Herndon, 10

”I heard a radio interview with someone from the Pentagon, who explained that the Bush administration is trying to get around the law that prohibits our government from assassinating world leaders. If this interview is correct, then I believe that we have sunken to their level.”
-Phil Roberts, 10

”Hatred is analogous to a headache. Yes, America can keep taking aspirin to temporarily numb the pain, but once the aspirin stops working, the pain is back. This does not solve the root of the problem: getting rid of the headache. America can bomb bin Laden to numb the pain, but it must get to the real root of the problem: hatred. Hatred, not bin Laden, is the true root of terrorism.”
-Han Hu, 10

”Not only did I lose family friends on Tuesday, but I believe that I have also lost some of my freedom. I strongly disagree with people who have nothing to do with the American government being killed by a madman who has lost his humanity.”
-Junior Molombe, 12

”Any military strike will cause thousands upon thousands of civilian casualties. These are not statistics, a death toll rising by the minute on MSNBC, they are people with mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. White, olive, American, Afghani, Christian, Muslim, it doesn't matter.”
-Ben Woo, 12

”So many people come to this country seeking peace, rights and freedom. Too many people experience these wars in attacks in other countries, but not in America. I truly felt safe here until the tragedy, which made me realize the insecurity that those people are used to feeling every day.”
-Kelly Lightfoot, 12

”There is another memory. American flags waving proudly from building tops, people's hats, hands and hearts. Songs of hope and words of sympathy from all over the world, joining together in a golden web spanning oceans and continents, glowing brightly. It is a fire that can never be extinguished, a World Trade Center that can never be destroyed.”
-Kendra Leigh, 9

”When dealing with international relations, we must always consider discrepancies in customs. If, in the past, we kept our eyes closed to the beliefs of people different from ourselves, would America be the great, diverse and prosperous country it is today?”
-Afua Tay, 12

Silver Chips collected these written responses from various English classes and student submissions.

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Neela Pal. Neela Pal spent a year in journalism her sophomore year, under the assumption that she would be saying goodbye to her dream of being on the newspaper at Blair. Despite these worries, she was pleasantly surprised at being accepted as a page editor. An avid … More »

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