By Mathias Altman-Kurosaki
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, had a huge impact on the country and the world. It killed 2,977 people according to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and to this date is the largest terrorist attack launched on the United States.
As a lifelong New Yorker, the events of that day really hit close to home. I was only 17 months old when it happened, but I still feel an impact in hearing the stories that my family has told me.
My father recalls taking my oldest brother to the U.S. Open Tennis match on Sept. 9, 2001. They could see the World Trade Center from their seats.
There were heavy thunderstorms in New York the next day. My father was late picking up my siblings from swim and dive practice as a result. To make up for his lateness, he decided that he would drive my siblings to school the following day before driving downtown to his meeting at the Windows on the World restaurant, located on the 106th floor in the north tower of the World Trade Center.
As a result of driving my siblings to school, my dad was running late to his meeting on the morning of Sept. 11. As he got closer to his destination, he saw the North Tower go into flames. Some claimed it was an accident. Then, shortly after, the South Tower was struck by another plane. By that point, people had realized that this was no accident — it was a deliberate attack on the country.
My father survived because he was late. Knowing that he would be dead right now if it weren’t for him dropping off my siblings at school has left a mark in my mind forever. We never know when something so stunning and tragic will occur. It has made me far more appreciative of everyone I have met and the time I get to spend with them.
For someone who wasn’t completely conscious when the attacks occurred, I never got to visit the Twin Towers. In 2011, though, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the 9/11 memorial and museum opened. The names of the people who were killed have been inscribed on panels, including my father’s coworkers who were at the meeting.
The country has come a long way since that fateful day. The Patriot Act was passed in an effort to further prevent something like this from happening again. There are now more security checkpoints and limits at airports to make sure that people aren’t bringing dangerous items on aircrafts. Some say that the country had never been more united than after the attacks. The United States will forever be marked by the event, which has changed its history forever.
Lastly, thank you to the first responders that assisted on that day and continue to serve the United States. Let us never forget.