Residents say 9/11 attacks changed the world

September 03, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Smith

It's been 10 years, but Tri-State area residents asked to recall when and where they learned of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could easily return to those moments in their minds.

Lori Smith of Waynesboro, Pa., remembers her father calling her at home to break the news.

"It was kind of surreal, I think, because at that point we didn't know what it was," Smith said.

"Everyone was coming into work crying," said Mary Ely of Waynesboro.

"I felt anger, disbelief," Darren Rankin of Hancock said.

Those interviewed on a recent afternoon at Valley Mall in Halfway said the loss of life in New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania proved to be pivotal moments for the nation.

"It's a different world now. It's a more violent world," said Dave Verdier of Maugansville, Md.

"It definitely changed our history and, not for the better, our country," Marilyn Siron of Winchester, Va., said.

Siron said she wants to see a new president elected in 2012 because she feels the country has "gone down the drain" in the past 10 years.

Verdier and his friends Ben Ryland and Tom Moore said they're more concerned with the economy than national security.

"We've been the Big Brother for all the nations in the world. All the money we spent and all the people who were killed, what came of it?" asked Ryland, of Hagerstown.

Small-business owner Sayed Ahmed said he, too, is more concerned about the economy than the possibility of another terrorist attack. He said the United States is wasting its time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"In the past 10 years, the country has gone down," he said.

Because of his heritage, Ahmed, who lives in Martinsburg, W.Va., said he received death threats and increased scrutiny following the attacks.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, started an era with a new level of racism and increased scrutiny of Muslim people, Smith said.

"Unfortunately, I think (Sept. 11, 2001 has) created a lot of animosity toward the Muslim religion. I think it brought us together initially, but over the past 10 years, as time goes on, it's pulled us apart," said Adam Seidel of Waynesboro.

"I don't think we take as much for granted, and (we know) the U.S. isn't immune from that happening," Smith said.

Ryland said the attacks gave the American people a new understanding of terrorists.

"What happened is we underestimated them," he said.

Smith said she feels some anxiety when visiting Washington, D.C., or riding the Metro. She also worries about her husband, Doug, when he travels.

"Before it was plane crashes; now it's terrorist attacks," Smith said.

However, she said a planned attack would likely happen regardless of any safety net created by the government.

"I think it probably will (happen) at some point," Rankin said.

"I feel like there's going to be another attack. I don't think they're done," said Sara Funkhouser of Winchester.

"We spend too much time overseas. They should spend more time here," Ryland said of government policy.

Smith said her faith in God gives her hope in tough times.

"My biggest belief is God has got control," Ely echoed.

Desire Cordell, now 16, of Chambersburg, Pa., was in first grade when the attacks occurred.

"They turned on all the TVs," she said of the teachers at her school.

Although flying makes her nervous, Cordell said she's frustrated by airport security, which she said has gone overboard.

"They have to do that. ... A lot has changed because of" Sept. 11, 2001, Ely said.

Security precautions have greatly increased in schools, according to Greencastle, Pa., resident Lauren McIntire, 17.

Verdier and Moore said they suspect the legacy of Sept. 11, 2001, will be similar to that of Pearl Harbor. Ian Bock of Greencastle and Seidel agreed.

"I think it was a devastating event then, but we overcame it," Bock said.

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