Share Your Story: The Legacy of 9/11

Sixteen years ago today, a tragedy struck the United States and had an especially large impact on New York City and Stuyvesant. Since our 9/11...

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By Klaire Geller

Sixteen years ago today, a tragedy struck the United States and had an especially large impact on New York City and Stuyvesant. Since our 9/11 Magazine was published, The Spectator has written countless pieces in commemoration. Today, we want to let your stories do the telling.

Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

“Don't remember where [or] when, but I saw this thing where it said whenever [the clock] hits 9:11, the person would stay silent and contemplate for a moment. That's about as much of a connection you can get from me. I think about it, but I have no strong emotions about it like my mother and father do. Where they are from, Muslims aren't thought of very kindly, to put it nicely. Especially now, when the country is dealing with some problems involving Muslims, it just makes this gap a bit bigger. I have not been raised with suspicion against certain groups and [have not] been so close to a terrorist attack myself, but I do understand one thing: it has changed everything. So, I guess it isn't history, but I can't say I think about it often.” —Anonymous, sophomore

“My dad was a police officer and helped clean up the debris after the attacks. Every year, on 9/11, he reminds me of the many NYPD and FDNY responders who passed away, and it makes me appreciate having my father still with me today.” —William Hong, senior

“I definitely feel like there is a divide between the generation that experienced 9/11 (even if they weren't actually in New York to see it) and the generation that was born in the years afterward. Whenever [I try to] have rational arguments about the Iraq War, my elders are always able to say, ‘Well you weren't there. You didn't know what it was like.’ It's an emotionally charged event, and those who didn't live through [it] lose the ethos to be able to discuss it with those who did.” —Julian Giordano, freshman

“As a Muslim, I believe that it has shaped people's perception of me unfairly. They may not be as kind or may expect something different of me just based on my faith. They may expect me to be aggressive or menacing. They view me as a threat. And, as a Muslim woman, they may expect me to be passive. The problem is with all of this. None of these things are true.” —Fariya Farah, sophomore

“Bush's response [to 9/11] was ill-formed and misdirected and created more hate in and out of the United States. There was absolutely no reason for the United States to attack Iraq; Iraq was a fall-guy for Saudi Arabia, the country from which the terrorists actually came. George W. was settling a personal vendetta between his father and Iraq.” —Eve Wening, sophomore

“I believe his response was justified. Too little action and the American people would complain of ‘Bush the Pacifist.’ Too much, well, you can never have too much action against a war that truly affects the American people. We achieved great influence over the Middle East, having such a large military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, it set the platform for the dismantling of ISIL, which is crumbling as we speak.” —Eric Shau, sophomore

“I hear insulting remarks every day when I used to wear the hijab and the jokes revolving around me involved 9/11 and Al Qaeda. I responded with laughter, of course. Now I don't wear it for personal reasons, but some of it is because of those remarks.” —Anonymous, junior

“[If 9/11 had not happened], Trump would not have gotten elected. People have always been scared of the relative unknown, and Trump capitalized on that fear.” —Meril Mousoom, freshman

“In many ways it united us, even though we don't feel very united at the moment. We also know what terrorists are capable of and want to do. In another way, it created a lot of tension toward the Muslim community that is shaping current political stances.” —Camille Sadoff, sophomore