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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Citizens better equipped to handle crises after attacks

    When I was little I thought my dad had the coolest job. I did my history reports about famous pilots, studied Amelia Earhart, and loved sneaking into my parent’s closet to try on my dad’s pilot’s hat.

    But Sept. 11, 2001, took away the wonder.

    My parents were in Hawaii and my aunt and grandmother were taking care of my brother and me. My aunt rushed in my room and said, “The country’s under attack!” and then left. Maybe if I had been older that would have been scary, but 11-year-old me mostly thought she was kidding, and was annoyed at being awake so early.

    I watched the news before going to school, but in my bleary-eyed Cheerios daze, I missed the point.

    Weeks later my dad went to work but, by that time, I’d heard what happened to the pilots. I didn’t want him to go. He shrugged it off and explained why it wouldn’t be logical for an attacker to choose his flights and how no one could sneak up on him. I don’t know if any of that was true and I really try not to dwell on it; it comforted me then, and now.

    For most, Sept. 11 struck Americans in the heart even if it didn’t hit them in the home.

    Any family that has a pilot or a crewmember who flies still worries.

    In 2006, The movie “United 93” came out and someone asked me to see it. I was more than a little offended. No, I don’t want to see a movie where pilots are overpowered and eventually crash into the ground.

    Pilots and aircraft crew aren’t firefighters, police officers or soldiers and I never thought I’d have to worry about the pilot in my family coming home safe. Now, it’s been a decade and flying is still the safest way to travel. But it’s still a worry. It’s not a 10-year anniversary for some families; it’s an everyday concern.

    There were no survivors in any of the planes on Sept. 11, 2001, no chance of rescue, and flight attendants were even stabbed before crashing.

    Although our standards for flight have changed, the threats on airlines continue. On Dec. 25, 2009, a man tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight. Then, on May 10, a man attempted to force his way in the cockpit of an American Airlines flight in California. In both cases, the passengers reacted and helped subdue attempts.

    Now reflect on Jan. 8. A Tucson passersby fell on Jared Loughner and stopped him before he could fire another round, and wreak further havoc and pain. That’s the proof that Americans have changed.

    I don’t believe that, 10 years ago, it would be people’s first reaction to get up and force a fellow passenger to the ground or leap onto a man with a gun. But again, Americans have changed. I don’t feel safer walking through TSA and getting groped by a similarly uncomfortable woman. But I do feel safer knowing that Americans are standing up for their safety, stopping attacks before they happen, and working together.

    —Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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