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Ten years later

Street Smarts



The events of Sept. 11, 2001 left an indelible mark on our nation's consciousness, forever changing the world around us. Now that it's been a decade, how does that world look? And how do we look at ourselves?


Eli Alberts of the old north end is a visiting professor

Do you remember where you were when 9/11 happened? I was in the Netherlands, just beginning a master's program at Leiden University. The dean had just started his welcoming address when he paused and said, "By the way, some plane just hit the World Trade Center."

Do you know anyone directly affected by the attacks? My sister has a friend who worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings at the time. The morning of the attack, she arrived to work late because she'd stopped at the bank on the way to work, and the attack happened then.


Chad Grube of Denver is a software IT consultant

Where were you when 9/11 happened? I was driving to work in Rockville, Maryland when the first tower was hit, and the Pentagon got hit just as I arrived. Everyone was glued to the TV by the time the second tower was hit, and the boss sent us home.

What changes in our consciousness did this event cause? From feeling invulnerable and overly confident to overly insecure and paranoid.

Is there an aspect of 9/11 the media didn't cover? There was little delving into the deeper story about the living conditions and political histories of people who do these things — what prompts them to think this is their only recourse.


Sherry Korthals of the west side is a nurse

How did 9/11 change us as a country? We became fearful. We were no longer invulnerable.

Is there an aspect of this story the media ignored? The focus was almost entirely on what was done to us, so it became about revenge and violence instead of looking at who we are and how other people see us. That's persisted to this day.


Brian Picklesimer of Briargate is a short order cook

Where were you when you heard about 9/11? In an American history class at Air Academy High School. My teacher turned the news on, and we watched it happening live.

What are the most powerful images you recall from that day? The loss, horror and anger on the faces of the people there.

What's the biggest change in our consciousness these events caused? It demonized Islamic culture. A lot of understandable but inappropriate intolerance was born of that.

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