Attack's lasting changes

Residents reflect on emotions, attitudes on 9/11 anniversary

Residents reflect on emotions, attitudes on 9/11 anniversary

September 12, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM and KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Feelings of anxiety, patriotism and loss remain five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some area residents said.

For many, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a constant reminder of that day.

Russell Burdette, 20, of Smithsburg, said he has lost several friends in the war in Iraq.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about 9/11 starting the war," he said.

Tara McCain, 24, of Inwood, W.Va., and her friend Kevin Grolton, 20, of Fairplay, said they know people who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It affects us in almost every aspect of our lives," McCain said. "It probably will affect us forever."

For Dr. Shahab Siddiqui, who attends the Islamic Society of Western Maryland in Hagerstown, the events of Sept. 11 revealed how little people understand about Islam, which he knows as a peaceful religion.


Since then, he said he has learned more about his faith, so he can share it with others. He said he feels interfaith relationships have grown stronger because of the efforts people have made to build bridges.

"I think it's a wonderful community. They're receptive, and I admire and appreciate that, but I think what I have done is a small piece of what needs to be done," said Siddiqui, who originally is from Pakistan.

More patriotic

Since the attacks, Mandy Druckenbrod, 33, of Hagerstown, said she decorates her home in red, white and blue. She was not very patriotic before, she said.

"I would look at it as how we're killing each other over a pair of sneakers or a bandanna on our heads or colors, and that all changed. It made me see how the U.S. is worth fighting for, and before, I couldn't give a (care) less," Druckenbrod said.

On the fifth anniversary of the attacks, Joan McCleaf wore red, white and blue, and pinned an American flag pin on her red top.

"I felt more patriotic today," she said.

Something she has felt most days since the attacks is fear of traveling. McCleaf said she's also more aware of her surroundings now. When in public, she said she often looks for suspicious packages and people.

"I'm more aware of every place I go," she said.

As her great-grandson, Mason, nearly 2, toddled around at City Park, Claudia Schleigh said she has never felt as safe since Sept. 11 as she did before the attacks.

"I'm still frightened, yeah. I think they're going to get us eventually, I honest to goodness do," said Schleigh, 61, of Hagerstown.

She said she worries about the world in which Mason will grow up.

"I was afraid that day, and I'm still afraid," she said.

Mark Sands, 45, who moved to the area from Long Island, N.Y., said he believes people still live in fear. Never a confident flyer, Sands said he will not travel by airplane again if it's possible to get to his destination any other way.

"Even though a lot of people said they were going back to doing things the way they always had, I think security is always on everybody's mind," said Sands, who sized up his new surroundings as soon as he moved.

Though Hagerstown seems safe, Sands said he could not help but wonder what might happen.

"It's like Maryland is in the middle of everything," he said.

Shavanna Small, 18, of Hagerstown, said the Sept. 11 attacks have made her ask, "Am I safe?"

This question, she said, would be answered differently if she lived in New York or Washington, D.C.

"I don't think about it so much maybe, living in Hagerstown," Small said.

Jeff Swope, 21, of Smithsburg, said since the attacks he is more aware of security measures and more grateful to those working to keep American safe.

Faith helps

Loralee Miller, 44, of Falling Waters, W.Va., said she has tried not to let the attacks affect her life drastically. She said her faith in Jesus has helped her feel protected and safe.

"I have become intently focused on the unfolding events in Israel and the Middle East and on the absolute need for us all to know Jesus as our Lord and savior," said Patricia Crist, of Hagerstown.

For Francie Van Scoy, 53, of Hagerstown, the outrage of the moment will last as long as "our boys" - military soldiers - still are engaged in battle in Iraq and elsewhere.

"Yes, I'm very angry. I didn't think that it could happen, and I don't think that I'm the only one who didn't think it could happen. I thought our country was invincible, I guess," Van Scoy said.

Remembering 9/11

Editor's Note: Monday marked the fifth anniversary of a terrorist attack on America. In a three-part series, The Herald-Mail talks to people who were directly affected by the events of that day. Each day of the series also includes the personal accounts of that day from local residents.

Sunday: What happened to some of the people we met five years ago?

Monday: Local people tell their stories.

Today: Has life changed? Learn what local residents say.

Local memories - A9

More local comments at

Nation marks fifth anniversary of attacks - D6

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