December, 27, 2019.
This was the day when I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum with my mother and my sister in New York City for the first time. The museum is located outside of the World Trade Center, marking the place where the unfortunate and horrific event on September 11, 2001 occurred. The newly built World Trade Center includes lavish decorations and luxurious clothing shops, but the process of building it wasn’t easy.
Behind the flowery-patterned architecture and the hustle-and-bustle were tears of painful memories. No one can ever forget about what happened 19 years ago. The event left a bleeding scar in American history that can never be healed.
I remember entering the museum with my family, feeling forlorn and shaken to my core. The exhibits included tainted reminiscents of workers voices and 9/11 emergency calls. Family members of those who died donated souvenirs. Photographers took pictures of people around the world, staring at the burning twin towers in horror and disbelief.
I was only a toddler in China when all of this happened, and I asked my mom how she felt.
“It was like a movie to me,” she replied.
Throughout the 9/11 attacks, around 3000 people had passed away including firefighters, police officers, and flight attendants. Four planes were hijacked, leading former-President George W. Bush to return to the White House and announce further military action. The Department of Homeland Security was created and signed into law in 2002. Nowadays, members of the department work towards combating terror attacks and strengthening border security.
9/11 led to an enforcement of security and safety measures. But despite the economic, political, and social effects, we should never try to neglect the emotional and psychological impacts.
After 9/11, reports show that those directly affected by 9/11 were more likely to report post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These effects were still visible in research around three years after the attacks. The tragic event has a cumulative effect on everyone around the world, as the moment will never be forgotten.
During a tour around the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the debris and artifacts of the event made me realize how a nation can come together, which is something we don’t see as much anymore. The direct impacts were awful, but seeing a new World Trade Center and observing how people still support each other, instilled hope within me.
Needless to say, the 9/11 event has sparked resilience among people who first-hand witnessed the collapse. A survey taken among New Yorkers six months after the incident showed that 65% of participants were able to recover. The proportion never dropped below 33%, meaning that PTSD rates of the event decreased significantly.
Coping as a nation is difficult after witnessing an incident out of nowhere. The 9/11 event has put a halt on the economy and restrained many people’s emotions. But at the end, there were always heroes; the collective support among people themselves can never be greater. Firefighters, flight attendants, and nurses tried their best to handle the situation and cure the inflicted. Children who handled loss, supported one another, creating little symbols as memorials. Parents supported their children and workers took the initiative to help one another.
One by one, step by step, the nation began to see itself recovering. The memories were donated to the 9/11 Museum, opened in 2011. Then, around five years later, the new World Trade Center opened, right beside the 9/11 memorial. The event was unexpected but taught us strength, teamwork, safety, and resilience.
If it wasn’t for resilience, I wouldn’t have ever been able to visit and witness the change in American history. And if it wasn’t for strength, none of us would’ve shopped at the World Trade Center.
Throughout the event, we have handled the initial stress but picked ourselves up. Yes, it was difficult and more than a challenge; but from that moment on, we learned that nothing is impossible through teamwork. 9/11 will go down in history and will allow us to realize that we can push through any situation, and come out stronger than ever (ahem 2020).