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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Campus

Looking back at the day after 9/11


Sept. 11 was one of the largest news events of the new millennium, and no exception for The Daily Cougar. | The Daily Cougar/2001

On this day 12 years ago, the United States faced the worst terrorist attack on domestic soil in modern history. Four commercial airlines were hijacked by Al-Qaeda agents: one landing in a field outside Philadelphia, one hitting the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and two infamously colliding into, and ultimately destroying, two towers in the World Trade Center in New York City.

But that is common knowledge. Today’s college students were as young as five or six when the Twin Towers fell, and though everyone knows the story of what is now colloquially known as 9/11, for many, the memory is hazy, if anything.

The Daily Cougar’s Sept.12, 2001 issue reads like an old New York Times cover after the declaration of war. For the students, faculty and staff at the time, the attack was far from hazy; it was fresh in their minds.

The top headline declared the nation “Under Attack,” and the top articles reflected the fear, uncertainty and even blazing patriotism that many across the nation were feeling. Other articles throughout the issue speculated on the fates of Muslim Americans and pleaded for tolerance. In today’s widespread profiling and discrimination against Muslims and those of Arab descent, the dramatic irony does not go unnoticed.

A great deal has changed since 2001. Osama bin Laden was found and killed, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have began and are coming to a close and the nation has clawed and fought against itself on everything from class inequality to the ethics of the wars overseas. For many students today, it takes a look back at an archived copy of The Daily Cougar or an old YouTube clip from CNN to see the chaos of the attack and to see what began a series of tumultuous circumstances in America.

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