Submitted by Stella Dale from New Trier High School in Chicago, Illinois.
The 20th anniversary is here. The September 11th 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in the heart of New York City were a crucial event in world history. It is devastating to think that 20 years have gone by with so many people affected by it. Almost 3,000 people suffered the attacks and died. It is an astronomical number, 3,000 too many. Even now this number continues to rise as Islamophobia rages across the United States. We must remember that 9/11 was not just a day: it's a continued era of nation wide turmoil, distrust, and racism.
This isn’t the most deadly attack we have seen in the last 20 years though. Coronavirus demolished, and ruined over 1.5 million people’s immune systems. With over 26,000 deaths, this is yet another deadly event in our world’s history.
Is it possible that the unity experienced with the 9/11 attacks is similar to the unity of Coronavirus? What has been keeping us united as a whole country with the new pandemic?
On 9/11, the whole world was experiencing the attacks and the uncertainty at the same time. News channels cut to the buildings collapse, and the whole week’s broadcasts were filled with reports on deaths and severe damage surrounding what were the twin towers.
We are experiencing the same certainty of not knowing the details, and having so much be unknown about the pandemic.
Although I was not alive yet during this event, I have been lucky enough to get many perspectives on what happened from so many of my peers. I have been living in the time of coronavirus, and I can’t help but wonder if the things people experienced during 9/11, a lot like now, only kept them closer together.
Some people claim that the attacks brought more patriotism, nationalism, and loyalism to the United States after 9/11. Although 9/11 caused deep racism and hate towards an innocent group, I am compelled to think of congress on the day of the attack, coming together at the Capital to sing "God Bless America." Is it possible that 9/11 simultaneously divided a nation, and brought it together? Similarly, the Coronavirus has divided our nation but also brought us closer together than ever before. Yes, there is a substantial divide created by Covid over masks and vaccines, but there is also something comforting and unifying about going through the same experience as everyone else in the nation. We are all connected by the experience of the pandemic, whether we like it or not. In this way, Covid has almost forced us to come together.
We have definitely come together to go through the pandemic as a whole. We are all in it together. Though there is separation and division in this country, there are also a lot of people who have come together and turned their lemons into lemonade. On the 20 year anniversary of 9/11, we remember the many innocent lives taken, and the impact those attacks still have on individuals to this day. We acknowledge the divide the attacks created in the nation, and work to close the gap that still persists between Americans today. And in the time of Covid, unity is more important now than ever before.