A Teenager’s Perspective & Message on 9/11- 20 Years Later: Reflect, Give Back & Never Forget

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With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching – we are highlighting one NY teenager’s perspective as outlined in an article she recently penned in her community’s local magazine about what she has learned about the historic event and the work she is doing as a volunteer for national nonprofit Tuesday’s Children.  Let’s donate to Silvana’s fundraiser [QR code included below] to support the families of our Troops while Honoring the victims of recent attacks and the work Tuesday’s Children has been doing over the past 20 years to support the families of the victims.

Silvana DaviSilvana Davi, Manhasset High School Senior

Growing up in Manhasset, I was always intrigued to hear about the impact 9/11 had on our community, given the 49 people from Manhasset that lost their lives. Both my parents were in Manhattan working during the time of the attacks and have always shared their experiences on this awful day. I have also been a volunteer for local charity Tuesday’s Children founded immediately after 9/11 and have learned about all the support and programs they have led for the many families impacted. 

I was recently asked in my 11th grade AP United States History class to do a research paper on historic events and selected 9/11, and thought I would share it especially for my generation to learn interesting facts and empower them to help me give back to those affected by these and other disasters.

The September 11th Terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001 was a crucial event in modern American history. Two hijacked commercial airplanes flew straight into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. These two airplanes were flown by Saudi, Lebanese, Egyptian, and Emirate hijackers who were a part of the Islamic extremist group Al Qaeda, and killed 3,000 people in these attacks. At 8:45 a.m., the North Tower was struck by American Airlines Flight 11, beginning the terrorist attacks. This airplane struck around the 80th floor, trapping those who were stuck in the higher floors. At 9:03 a.m., American Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center around the 60th floor. At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower collapsed and at 10:28 a.m., the North Tower collapsed. The al Qaeda group was led by Osama bin Laden, who was the mind behind this attack due to America’s involvement in the Middle East and supporting the Israelis. The attacks on 9/11 left a mark on American history, leaving the greatest impact on the American economy, society and government. 

The attacks on 9/11 resulted in a drastic impact on the American economy in 2001. It wasn’t easy for employees to return back to work after the attacks, as many were still in shock and startled after what happened in New York less than a week before resulting in employees unable to complete their work as so many lost their lives on September 11th. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq opened on September 17, closing the day of the attacks and naming it the longest shut down of the stock market ever since the Great Depression. That first day of trading at the New York Stock Exchange led to a 7.1 percent (684 points) drop in the market at Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow Jones was down more than 14 percent, S&P 500 Index was down 11.6 percent, and Nasdaq was down 16 percent. 1.4 trillion dollars overall was lost during the shut down of the stock market, a catastrophic amount of money that was lost. The attacks on 9/11 deepened the 2001 recession, which began in March and ended in November of 2001. The 2001 recession was a result of computer companies and people believing that their computers would stop working in 2000 because of computer codes distinguishing the year of 2000. Due to this, people began to go out and buy new computers and software.

This crisis that began in March of 2001, only made the shutdown of the stock market even worse since the economy was already in a recession and couldn’t afford a five day shut down of the stock market.143,000 jobs in New York City alone were lost as a result of the attacks and 2.8 billion dollars worth of wages were also lost three months after the attacks. All aspects of the American economy faced an impact due to the attacks on 9/11 however, the air transportation and financial industries suffered the most. 60 percent of jobs within the airline industry were lost as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. American Airlines stocks saw a 39 percent decline, going from $29.70 to $18.00 per share. United Airlines stocks resulted in a 42% decline going from $30.82 to $17.50 per share. Although the United States economy saw drastic changes and downfalls, it was able to rise back up to somewhat normalcy post 9/11. Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P had for the most part gained the prices back from before 9/11 happened. Besides the stock market, the resulting damages from 9/11 cost the United States a catastrophic amount of money to rebuild and clean up what had resulted from these attacks. The cost of the damages resulting from the attacks was about 60 billion dollars and the cost to clean up the debris from Ground Zero was 750 million dollars.

9/11 changed American society and put the nation in shock. It brought the citizens of the United States together, and unified our country to fight back against the forces who tried to destroy our nation through a horrific terrorist attack. The President at the time of the attacks was President George W. Bush and in his address to the nation at 8:30 p.m. on September 11, 2001 he said, “‘America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world’”. President Bush reassured our startled nation on the night of these attacks that together the United States stands to fight against the bad in the world and instead fight for the freedom and good in the world. Those living in New York and Washington D.C. felt that the attacks took the greatest toll on them emotionally. 61% of New Yorker’s and 63% of those in Washington D.C. felt that the 9/11 attacks changed their lives the most compared to the 49% of the rest of the country. The 9/11 attacks led Americans feeling much more vulnerable, afraid and careful, after suffering from the losses of loved ones, jobs and financial stability. 

Although the attacks took a toll on various aspects of the lives of Americans, especially those living in New York and Washington D.C., Americans began spending more time with their loved ones and really appreciating time with them. Despite the emotional distress caused by the attacks, patriotism amongst Americans did rise. 62% of Americans feel that they are more patriotic than they were before as a result of the attacks. These acts of patriotism after 9/11 were displayed through American flags being put up and anything else that expresses the United States visually. After being victims of such a horrific terrorist attack, Americans were united despite their differences, to appreciate their country and become stronger as a nation. 

One of the reasons the attackers of 9/11 were able to carry out the attacks was due to the lack of security within American airports. The fact that the terrorists were able to get through the airport with all their weapons and were able to take over the planes the way they did only showed how bad the American intelligence system failed at keeping their citizens safe. Prior to 9/11, security was not nearly as tight as it is today and ID’s were never checked. Due to the clear lack of security that was demonstrated by 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration was created and approved by Congress in November of 2001. This administration is where the Department of Homeland Security was also developed in 2002, where border security is enforced through customs and immigration enforcement. The attacks impacted the nation extensively to the point where air travel and transportation all throughout the country has become more strict and enforced as a result. New security protocols were put in place in airports such as new screeners, ID checkpoints being required, shoes must be taken off and electronics must be removed from bags when going through security screening. TSA employees began to be trained to identify suspicious individuals within airports as a direct result of the terrorists of 9/11.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 took a toll on the economic, societal, and governmental sectors of the United States. American citizens were united and became stronger as a result and America was able to bounce back from this destruction even stronger than before, to ensure the safety as well as the freedom guaranteed to American citizens.