By: Avory Brookins
On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives after 19 terrorists hijacked four planes. Two flew into the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City causing them to collapse; one destroyed part of the Pentagon in Arlington, VA; and the other crashed in Shanksville, PA after passengers prevented the terrorists from reaching their final destination. Today marks the fourteenth anniversary. For many college students at Temple University today, the attacks took place when they were in the second or third grade, even preschool. Their perspectives at the time of the tragedy are explored below in the photo slideshow. They reminisce about where they were when they heard the news and what their understanding of it was at the time.
Andre Williams, senior engineering technology major
Andre was in the second or third grade when he heard about the attacks. He remembers being in school and hearing announcements about students being picked up by their parents. At the time, he understood the gist of what happened: planes crashed into buildings. However, since he was living in Washington D.C. at the time, he knew that the Pentagon was one of the specific targets. Since then, Andre has become leery about what exactly happened that day and whether the government had anything to do with it.
Ashoka Robin, senior kinesiology major and Tarah King, senior criminal justice major
Ashoka was in his second grade classroom in a town outside of New York City 14 years ago. He said his teacher passed out a survey to all the students asking where their parents worked and if they worked in New York City. He didn’t understand the point of the survey, but found out how serious it was when he got home. His mom told him what happened. The news didn’t connect 100 percent in his mind then. Today, he connects more emotionally with the incident and understands how serious and sad it actually is. Tarah didn’t want to discuss 9/11 at first, but then kindly agreed to share her personal connection with the tragedy. Tarah’s dad worked at one of the towers at the World Trade Center.
She remembers not going to school that day and seeing her dad in his suit ready to go to work. Before he left, he turned on the news and saw the towers on fire. Tarah and her dad just watched in shock. It’s very scary for Tarah to think that her father could have been there that day and elicits bad feelings for her.
Kayleigh Sprague, freshman psychology major
Kayleigh has no memory of Spet. 11, 2001 because she was in preschool. When she got older, her grandmother told her the story of what happened and shared what she was doing when she heard the news. Her grandmother was at the mall the morning of 9/11 and saw a woman crying. That’s when she found out what was going on. People thought it was an accident, but when the second plane hit, they knew something bad was happening. Everyone was horrified and crying. Kayleigh has heard her grandmother tell the story multiple times, but has her own understanding of the incident today. She’s more aware of the motivations of those who committed the attacks and what caused it.
Maggie Leppert, senior psychology major
Maggie was in the third grade, just shy of her ninth birthday. She lived in North Jersey so close to New York City that you could see the skyline from different parts of her town. At her school, teachers were talking in the hall and students were getting picked up early. She thought it was weird but didn’t think any more of it besides that. When she got home her mom told her what happened. She remembers seeing coverage of the towers on almost every channel. The kids in her neighborhood were all outside and the parents were talking to one another, crying on and off.
Today, Maggie chooses to stay positive when thinking about the anniversary. She focuses on the first responders and everyone else who helped. She also remembers the survivors, the families affected, and those who lost their lives.