Remembering 9/11, twenty years later

Remembering 9/11, twenty years later

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, New York was going about its business.  As the city that never sleeps, people were already on board the subways, taking buses and heading up the elevators to their offices.  The streets were bustling as usual with shop owners, clerks, tourists, locals, children – everyone who had ever dreamed of New York.

9/11 ground zero debris. Photo taken September 14, 2001. Source: US National Archives

At 8:46 that morning, everything changed, forever.  A plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board, including four terrorists.  At 9:03 AM, a second plane struck the South Tower, again with everyone on board killed instantly.  Even more people were trapped on the upper floors of both buildings, all of whom lost their lives.  In total, 2939 people died on that day, with thousands more suffering from the aftermath.

To mark the anniversary of 9/11, IU East campus community members, including students, staff, faculty and alumni, will be sharing their memories on social media.  All of us who have lived through these events have a deeply personal perspective on one of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, and their stories will be worth sharing and remembering.  The IU East Campus Library is sharing materials and posters related to 9/11 from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which will prove useful teaching and learning tools for students, staff and faculty alike.  Access to informative documentation such as this can help us better understand the factors that led to such a tragedy, and, perhaps, how to prevent something similar from happening again.

Firefighters during President George W. Bush’s visit to New York City on September 14, 2001. Source: US National Archives

Unfortunately, a number of falsehoods have riddled our remembrance of those events.  It is clearly documented that the attacks were the result of extremists attached to the terrorist group Al Qaeda, and that there was no US government intervention.  However, a number of conspiracy theories continue to thrive, which insult the memory of the victims and the courage of first responders alike.  Belief in conspiracy theories can have significant consequences as well, including a rise in anti-Semitism, in which Israel and Jewish people were blamed for the 9/11 attacks.  Over 800 hate crimes targeted toward Muslims and people perceived to be Middle Eastern, including Sikhs, have been investigated by the FBI, the Department of Justice Civil Rights division and US attorneys.  In short, innocent people who have nothing to do with 9/11 are being targeted because of fear, misinformation and conspiracies that are not at all based in reality. 

Handwritten notes by President George W. Bush on the events of 9/11. Source: George W. Bush Presidential Library

The good news is, reliable information on 9/11 is widely available.  The National Archives has over 1200 related documents available on their website, including interviews, briefings and other information.  The Archives has also made public many of the materials from the Federal Aviation Authority, with a finding aid to help you search.  The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has put together a Flickr gallery of images with images categorized for easy searching.  The Pew Trust provides a wealth of statistics on public opinion regarding 9/11 and the twenty years that have since ensued.  Both the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and PBS have put together educational resources for teaching and learning about 9/11.  And the Library of Congress has collected and posted audiovisual materials which can guide you through the reactions, emotions and responses of ordinary individuals regarding the tragedy.

Although this is a difficult subject to face, we at the IU East Campus Library are here to help you with all of your research and informational needs regarding 9/11.  Have questions?  Want to verify facts or disprove a conspiracy?  Ask us. or click this button:

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