Last week, in reflection on the upcoming 10th anniversary, I wrote a piece that asked New Yorkers a simple question: How did your life change because of 9/11? I got responses from a diverse group that touched on everything from fear of flying, to experiencing racial profiling, to wanting to make a difference in the world. Beyond New York, many people’s lives were personally impacted by the tragedy; so Slate posed the question to our followers on social media. The responses were fascinating, and they revealed how far-reaching the events of 9/11 have been for so many people. On Twitter, we asked followers to use the hashtag #becauseof911. Below are some edited and condensed responses.
Some readers shared how fear and anxiety have stayed with them:
WordsFromKJ: “I hesitate before I walk into every big building.”
EmergeNew: “Every time I hear a siren I am taken back to that day. I instantly freeze up and get upset. I hate the sound of sirens.”
Angela Price “I developed agoraphobia and now have severe panic attacks when I travel a certain distance from home. Because of this I am still living at home and haven’t been able to work due to traveling issues.”
Niiteiko: “I work two blocks from the White House #becauseof911 initially I thought the earthquake last week was another terrorist attack.”
Others discussed how that day changed the course of their lives for the better:
Janacg “I moved to NY to work at the UN (fall 2001). Made me both more and less optimistic about multilateral cooperation.”
SwenBooks “I gave up tenure, dropped out, flew under radar and off the grid as sustainable farmer.”
Cbnickras “I was 23 & a total narcissist. 9/11 made me pay attention to the outside world, esp. how the US [is viewed]”
Juliepsamuels: “I went to law school, [and] now work defending digital civil liberties.”
Sarahmaclean: “I fell in love and am now married.”
Marcia Millar “I ended an abusive relationship.”
Some readers shared sad personal stories:
Pattig143: “I wear a hero bracelet every day for over 7 years. RIP PFC. Luis a. Moreno. yfrog.com/h0dgycoj”
Elizabeth Reiner Franke In the weeks following, short of hearing all the small noises of the morning train commuters stop dead as the smoke from the still-smoldering Pile came into view, I developed some serious anxiety about travel, especially by plane, and being out of touch with my parents and siblings. My siblings called me & told me about the two young men I grew up with who hadn’t come home that day.
I’ve become more cautious since that summer-warm Tuesday 10 years ago. I’ve thought seriously about what’s important and have found that my family and my friends are what matter most to me.
Check out the original slideshow and tell us how your life changed because of 9/11 in the comments.