Remembering 9/11: 15 Years Later


Woman reads the “New Haven Independent” two days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (UNH Archives)

Caitlin Carney

15 years ago, on September 11, 2001, our country was the target of a devastating terror attack. Since this horrific day, however, our country has rebounded greatly.

Very soon after the attack, the United States president at the time, George W. Bush, sprang into action, by declaring war on our attackers, once they were determined. However, Bush’s quick jump to action sparked a lot of conspiracies, which involved the idea that Bush was actually the one behind this attack and used it as a way to spark the war in Afghanistan. The likeliness of these conspiracies being true is very low. The war, which ended in December of 2014, lasted a little over 13-years.

While many of college students probably remember covering the topic in our high school history classes every year on the anniversary of the event, this year will be the first year that high school freshmen will learn about this event as an event that happened before they were alive.

When this event originally occurred, it affected the general public in a devastating way. Many people lost family, friends, or coworkers in these attacks. However, today, many Americans are highly desensitized about this topic. This desensitization has led to the creation of “memes” about the event. Many of these memes involve the conspiracy theories about Bush being the one behind the attack. These memes often say “Bush did 9/11” or “9/11 was an inside job.” There have also been memes claiming that “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams,” which is yet another reference to Bush being behind the attack.

In the era of the attack, the idea that Bush had been behind the attack was a very serious topic; however, today it’s a humorous joke often told by teenagers and young adults. These memes clearly show how desensitized our generation has become to this topic. In reality, this event was not a joke and severely affected many peoples’ lives forever. Though, most of students were very young when this attack occurred 15 years ago, many are still very close to this topic. This is shown by the 9/11 vigils U.N.H. holds each year.

This attack majorly affected people across the United States, some people were impacted even more by this event due to losing loved ones or by living closer to the attacks. While those of us who were not as close to the event see this attack as merely a historical event, some people are still very heavily affected by this day.

Someone personally affected by this tragedy is one of U.N.H.’s students, freshman, Megan McClintock. While Megan was only four when the attacks happened, it will always be a day she will remember.

McClintock lived in a neighborhood of Brooklyn called Flatbrush. On the day of the attack she, her mother, and their dogs had to evacuate to Long Island until it was sure that they would be safe.

In their evacuation, McClintock witnessed the first responders working hard and also saw lots of people on gurneys as they were being transported to whatever hospitals were not yet full.

McClintock’s uncle Vinny was a police officer with NYPD on the day of the attacks. Though he survived that day, the attack is what eventually killed him. Through his work on 9/11, he inhaled a lot of toxins from the smoky air which eventually lead to his death in 2009. McClintock remembered his funeral vividly, as it was filled with police officers mourning his loss.

This day will always hit hard for McClintock and she wants to be sure that everybody treats this day with the utmost respect.

McClintock said, “I want people to remain sympathetic and not joke about what president planned this. You don’t know who around you has lost someone or is affected by such a horrific event.”

McClintock is a forensic science major and hopes to one day go into law enforcement so that she can serve her community and help anyone who needs it. She hopes that one day she could be half as great as the police officers who lost their lives that day.

For many years following the 9/11 attacks, the site of this attack was filled with people clearing the rubble and for a long time it stood empty too. But, today this site has a different look to it. This site now has memorial reflecting pools in the same spots that the towers’ bases once stood. These reflecting pools also have the names of all of the 9/11 victims carved into them.

In addition to these pools, there is also a memorial museum dedicated to the history of the event. The museum first opened on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 back in 2011. The museum

includes artifacts found in the rubble, as well as how artists portrayed the event.

With the university’s close proximity to NYC, it should be fairly feasible for all students to the journey to the Freedom Tower and the other beautiful commemorative memorials .
September 11th is an important part of our country’s history and we must never forget the atrocities of that day.