Your Thoughts On Sept. 11

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CBSNews.com asked readers to share their thoughts on the impact the events of Sept. 11 made on their lives. We received hundreds of responses, representing a wide range of views. Here's what you had to say.


I got the first text message on my cell phone about Tower 1. I thought it was a small plane, then when I got the second message, I was horrified and thought . . . that guy, what's his name that was on the news a lot a few years ago . . Osama something. It was probably his doing . . . Well, anyone who pays attention to the news and knows what evil is capable of doing probably thought the same thing. This could have been prevented. We have to stop this from happening ever again.
- L. Lopez

As I read some of the responses that have been posted on this Website I feel compelled to disagree with some of them. There was one letter in particular that stated that America hasn't improved since 9/11, I feel sorry for this person, that they are so bitter. I was never more proud to be American than after 9/11. They say that adversity does not build character, it reveals it, the events after Sept. 11 have proven this to be fact. People from everywhere were willing to do what they could to help in any way possible. We didn't just become close that day, we showed just how close we really are. There will always be problems in the world, but I think that as a nation we can be proud of ourselves as a selfless people and an example for the rest of the world, and even though I may not agree with the negative attitude, as an American I would defend your right to have that attitude.
- June K.

I can't help but worry about my job, my new home and my family's well being. I'm personally sick and tired of being attacked for being American. The world expects us to help them, even demands it, and now when it's time to do something about the tyrant that started it all (Hussein) we are being chastised. Enough is enough, lets take the same posture as Israel; its time! An eye for an eye. The world can condemn us if they want, but it is time to stop being threatened. You know as well as I that if the shoe was on their foot they would retaliate and not even flinch about the criticism.
- Angel Ruiz Jr.

The attack on September 11 was truly horrifying. Yet, I must take issue with the manner in which our response has developed over the past year. President Bush's rhetoric paints the world in simple, binary terms: good versus evil. But the current world situation, as any reasonable person could plainly see, anything but this simple. We talk about defending freedom. Well, what kind of freedom? Political? Economic? Religious? All of the above? "Types" of freedom can clash. In fact, these clashes are exactly what produce a phenomena like the Taliban. Now, as much as I hate to say it, I believe a "war of terrorism" is unwinnable, that is, without completely restricting the very things that make America the best country in the world.
- C.J. Gardner

We have often heard about how many Americans died on 9/11,but
little has been said about the number of other nations and how many they also lost. That truly strikes at the heart of the U.N.
- Jim Flynn

On a recent trip to New York, as I stood at Ground Zero trying to take in the horrible sight, I was struck by something I did not expect ... silence. In the midst of this mammoth city, millions of people rushing from one place to another, there was not a sound. It seemed more than just an absence of noise, there was a palpable hush over that place that was somehow louder than the surrounding city. I had come there as a sentimental tourist snapping photos but found I felt great sadness, the magnitude of this grief bearing down on me. When I realized this, I was ashamed of how I was feeling; after all, I didn't lose a family member or friend there, right? What right did I have to show up and indulge my sappy, emotional side? I tried to shake it off and reminded myself how fortunate I had been not to have lost a loved one. Just then I saw an NYPD officer standing close by, just staring into the massive hole in the ground for what must have been a very long time. Looking back, I realize I must have been staring at him in the same way and for just as long. As I watched him it came to me that the sadness I felt was his, not mine ... the grief I carried was his, not mine. I suddenly understood why September 11th had left me so sad and angry. The scale of this horror had visited upon these people a grief of inexpressible dimensions, a grief so huge that the rest of us were (and are) compelled to bear it with them.
- Bill Smith

As all Americans, I was not prepared for 911. I grew up in the 60's when all of our worst fears were built around fallout shelters - did we have one, did we know where the closest one was and would we be let in? Every year in English class, we wrote themes on how to decide who to let in to our limited supply fallout shelter and who to exclude. They were awful decisions to make, even though it was just a school assignment. Somewhere deep inside of me, I always thought I would have choices if war came to America. 911 showed me that we are in a time of lightning-quick violence and acts of war. The little bit of control I thought I had is gone. Today there are no fallout shelters or even time to get to them. Life before 911 was so much more relaxed. Then I would see an abandoned soft drink cup left on a ledge and think of litter. Now I see the same thing and think bomb. As Americans, we grew up so suddenly a year ago. We can learn and grow from 911 but we will never be innocent again.
- Deena Veronica Falco

Clashes in the Middle East have not stopped for hundreds of years. Just because we were across the ocean what makes us immune? We need to be ready, be aggressive and build on our loss on September 11th.
-Adam Barbee, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Prior to the 9/11 tragedy I wasn't much for newscasts, news websites, or even newspapers. Sure, I caught the major stories, but in general I didn't think that the news had much to do with me. When the first plane hit the Trade Center, I got onto a website and watched. I started to listen to streaming updates, and when I went home that evening turned to the news and watched it until dawn. I suppose most people did. As the days immediately after passed, I cut myself back, but couldn't get away from a new need to keep myself informed... I know nothing I read in the news could have prepared me for 9/11, but by being well informed, somehow I feel safer.
- Ryan Kolter, St. Louis, Mo.

I first thought -- how could this happen? I blame the current Bush Administration and his advisors for sleeping on their watch. Their lack of attention and insight into the possibility led to the open window of opportunity for the terrorists.

I love the country I live in, and I continue to be on my guard…I am tired of all the excuses and explanations given so as to make us citizens feel, no one could have prevented this. I disagree whole-heartedly.
-Jeffery Lawrence Monaghan Chicago, Ill.

I do not believe in forgiveness any more. I believe in revenge, justice of the old fashioned sort. I fight to keep those feelings from invading how I live my life. I am also very proud. Proud of how we gathered around our wounded and stretched out our hands in help. Proud to be an American and quicker to speak my mind to those who point out the faults of my country.

- Melanie Vis, Austin, Texas.

The most disheartening thing about this whole event has been the decision, thus far, to not rebuild the world trade center towers. To me, it's like people have given up. We need to show the world that we have the will to get back up and keep going, and to take back what has been taken from us. If we don't, I think the people who were killed will have died in vain.
- Norman Lee

Since the tragedy, we have not been the same. The economy slumped, putting many people out of jobs. My husband lost hours at work, and because of that, we lost our home. But we never gave up. You see I also learned that no matter the situation I should never give up hope…I know how it feels to hurt and feel so hopeless. So I help people that are in need, and instill good American values in my children.

I have never been so proud to stand tall as an American as I do this day because one thing that we have in our lives, is freedom. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I hope the world knows that human life is precious. We should never take anyone for granted.
-Theresa J. Mazur

A year later Bush and the politicians are using 9/11 to their advantage either in their personal lives (to maybe finish something his dad should have) and political lives (give his buds the heads up for logging, and energy companies and cushy jobs all in the interest of fighting terrorism)

I really do not see this world getting any better, the only good thing that happened on 9/11 was it reunited Americans. It just did not last, because in America we are so spoiled that we went back to taking our freedoms for granted.
- An anonymous reader

After 9/11, I realized just how lucky we are as Americans. There were so many things that I took for granted. But all of that changed the morning of this terrible act against us. I don't take our freedom for granted anymore. And I hold my family a little closer now.
- Jeannie Heaton, Ark.
  • Sarah Katt

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