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The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

The attacks on America, 22 years ago

The memorial of the attacks shining bright in the night sky.

The devastating legacy of 9/11 which left nearly 3,000 citizens dead impacted hundreds of millions of people throughout the United States and the world. Its atrocities began on Sep. 11, 2001 when 19 terrorists from the Islamist extreme group al Qaeda hijacked four commercial planes and crashed two of them in the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. 


Around 9:59 a.m., bystanders both in New York City and on television watched in horror as the South Tower collapsed due to the sagging floors and pulling of fiery columns causing the building to bow and buckle to the ground. And around 10:28 a.m., the North Tower collapsed as well. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Learning about the attacks, passengers on the fourth plane fought back against the hijackers, and ultimately the plane crashed in a field in western Pennsylvania, around 20 minutes from Washington D.C. 


At the World Trade Center, 2,753 citizens were killed, of whom 343 were firefighters and first responders. The death toll at the Pentagon was 184, and 40 individuals died right outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 


The disaster of 9/11 has been one of the greatest atrocities on American soil since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.


“I first heard about the attacks on 9/11 when my roommate’s dad called and woke us up.  He said, ‘you girls need to get up. There has been an attack,’” Rancho Cucamonga High School Teacher Ms. Guerrero said.  “At that time, both planes had been flown into the World Trade Center Towers. A few weeks later, during Thanksgiving, I had a chance to work at the pit in [New York] City. I just had to do something. We served firefighters and first responders who were helping in the cleanup and recovery. The events of 9/11 show the worst in humanity but also the best as tragedies and atrocities often do.”


The attacks had a profound effect on the everyday lives of Americans. Strict security measures developed a framework of protection from large-scale attacks, also enhancing domestic capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic threats. Congress also passed the USA Patriot Act, which strengthened the search and surveillance powers of central intelligence agencies. Meanwhile, a new cabinet level of Homeland Security was formed.


Created with the founding principle of protecting the American people from terrorist and other threats, DHS and its many partners across the federal government, public and private sectors, and communities throughout the country have strengthened the homeland security enterprise to better mitigate and defend against dynamic threats,” Homeland Security said in the article “Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations.” 


Additionally, an outspread patriotic sentiment fluctuated throughout the lives of millions of Americans, who felt patriotic as a result of 9/11.


According to an article entitled “Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11,” the PEW research center noted, “Patriotic sentiment surged in the aftermath of 9/11… After the U.S. and its allies launched airstrikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in early October 2001, 79% of adults said they had displayed an American flag. A year later, a 62% majority said they had often felt patriotic as a result of the 9/11 attacks.” 


As well as patriotism, there was a flourishing sense of connection with religion in large numbers. Reports of people praying more and being more influenced by faith increased heavily the years following the attacks. 


In November 2001, 78% said religion’s influence in American life was increasing, more than double the share who said that eight months earlier and – like public trust in the federal government – the highest level in four decades,” PEW Research Center said. 


The impact the attacks of 9/11 have brought on citizens of the U.S. and the entirety of the world has caused a multitude of fearful reactions. 


“There’s no question the world was different, our lives were different. I had visited ground zero on a coincidental trip to New York. It affected me greatly, I just didn’t understand how this could happen. I didn’t know anybody personally that had died, but for me it was very shocking and I definitely felt different about the world,”  RCHS teacher Mark Cruthers said. 


After the attack, there was immediate shock and worry of another attack in major cities in America, such as New York and Washington. The majority of Americans left recalling the moment they watched as the towers collapsed. New generations of citizens are only told of a memory. Although being an atrocity of the past, annual remembrances to those lost and affected are still mourned. 


The city of Rancho Cucamonga also commemorated the anniversary of the 9/11 attack. On its website, it said, “The Rancho Cucamonga Fire District and Rancho Cucamonga Police Department will commemorate the 22nd anniversary of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 terror attacks took the lives of 2,977 men, women, and children in New York City, Arlington, VA., and near Shanksville, PA. Twenty years after the attacks, we look back to a day that changed our Nation’s history and remember the sacrifice and strength of all the lives that were impacted.”

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About the Contributor
Carson Barber, Sports Editor

Carson Barber is a Senior currently attending Rancho Cucamonga High School. This is his second year of Journalism and his first year as The Cats Eye Sports Editorial writer. Barber loves to write and express his thoughts and emotions through his words. He has several hobbies such as playing musical instruments, writing, working out, and playing video games. He is extremely excited to meet new people and create many great memories in both Journalism and RCHS. 

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