Recalling the Days After September 11, 2001
Residents share their memories of that day and the days after.
Nearly all of us remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. We also remember the days after, with the nonstop news and the many images of chaos and sadness.
Catonsville resident Steve Whisler wasn't able to watch the tragedy unfold on television, as he was stationed on a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Persian Gulf at the time.
Whisler's job was to board ships coming out of Iraq to monitor their cargo. On September 11, he heard about the attacks through military intelligence, but his workday wasn't interrupted like many Americans' workdays were in the United States.
Suddenly, where Whisler and his crew were seemed to be a less secure place.
"Out there at the time, we had the threat of chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles," he said.
Still, on that day, the crew continued to board ships to inspect them. Some of the crews on the ships knew about the attacks, and Whisler remembers some Pakistani ship crews who were sympathetic to al-Qaida. Many more, however, were disgusted by them, he said.
In the days following, crew members worked 12-hour watch shifts and were on high alert.
"We were all very tense," he said.
It wasn't until mid-November that Whisler was able to come back to the United States to see his family.
One of the first things he noticed was how much patriotism was still on display when he returned.
"I just kept thinking it was probably very similar to what we felt after Pearl Harbor," he said.
For Rebecca Adelman, a recent college graduate living in Chicago in 2001, the images were what stuck with her.
Adelman, who is now an assistant professor of media and communication studies at UMBC, remembers how she was struck by how everyone was processing what they were seeing.
Adelman remembers the endless stream of news on television for several days after, as well as the first baseball game that was played after the attacks.
Her studies on images, media and war have caused her to think about how the images were less important to Americans. What they really remember are the experiences, she said.
"In some ways, the content of the pictures mattered less," she said. "Even though I don't remember exactly what I was watching, I remember the experience."
Two years ago she taught a class that focused on visualizing America that discussed the images seen on Sept. 11. She also had some interesting conversations with her students after Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this year.
For some of the students, the significance of the event was less meaningful, as they were younger with 9/11 occurred. But media and images still played a role.
Ten years ago, many Americans watched the attack on television. Students in Adelman's class found out about bin Laden on Facebook or Twitter.