On the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, the nation gathered to remember those who lost their lives that day. Names of victims were read off at the Reflecting Pool in New York City, President Donald Trump addressed those at the Pentagon, and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Flight 93 Memorial.
Chris Magoc, Ph.D., remembers exactly what he was doing when the planes hit the towers.
“I remember where I was on 9/11 in 2001; I had been teaching ‘America Since 1945’ in Zurn 114. It’s an unforgettable moment,” Magoc said.
The fall of the Twin Towers shocked the nation and the world, bringing together those that were involved and even those who were not.
“9/11 unified the country in a way that hadn’t been felt in generations, perhaps since World War II, but that feeling dissipated quickly. I don’t see an end to this anytime soon,” said Magoc. “For most of us the scab over the wound thickens each year, but for those first responders and the families of victims, those people will never be fully healed. 9/11 is not over for those people. It continues on.”
Magoc was interviewed by Sean Lafferty of JET 24, and was asked if he feels that the nation is safer today than after 9/11.
“Well I think there is virtual unanimity in the intelligence community, that yes, absolutely we are, in terms of certainly the kind of scale of attack that we suffered on 9/11,” said Magoc. “Intelligence agencies are much better at communicating with one another, interagency cooperation, both within this country and with our allied nations in Europe and elsewhere is far, far stronger than it was 16 years ago.”
Magoc adds that there is also a flip side.
“The problem is is that the threat has metastasized,” Magoc said.
Last year was the first year that high school freshman students learned about the terrorist attack as something of history. Everyone else before them was alive when the attack happened, whether they remember it or not.
With over a decade since the attack, people still commemorate the anniversary, but not everyone feels the repercussions of the event still today.
“For me it’s a watershed moment in modern American history,” Magoc said. “On one hand, 9/11 changed everything, and on the other hand it changed very little.
“The endless conflict has seeped into the American lifestyle, and yet unless your son or daughter, or brother or sister is one of the tens of thousands of Americans fighting in ‘the global war on terror,’ we don’t think about it all that much,” he said.