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Fifteen years have passed since the United States of America witnessed one of the most horrific incidents in the history of mankind. The tragedy in question refers to the terrorist attacks executed in New York City on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. United Airlines flight 175, flight 93, American Airlines Flight 11, and 77, which the terrorists hijacked, were responsible for the attacks. Flights 175 and 11 crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) building in New York City and brought them down, while a third plane, flight 93, crashed in Shanksville, Penn. American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. This incident has permanently altered the perception of safety and security for the American population. The fateful day, which killed 2,996 people, as reported by Statistic Brain, is solemnly commemorated as 9/11, a date that should not have seen the light of the day.
According to CNBC, some people experienced the catastrophe first-hand and managed to survive. While there were others, who lost their kith and kin in the disaster that took place. However, none of them show the willingness to discuss what happened on 9/11, a date that should not have seen the light of the day. Since they appear to have deliberately repressed the memories of that episode in a dark corner of their mind, promising themselves never to bring the mental recollection of that agonizing event to the fore.
However, despite this resolve, they are still unable to wipe them off from their psyche completely. According to Forbes, the results of a new survey which the Pew Study Research Center conducted, confirm this fact. The findings suggest that 91 percent of the American adults continue having “flashbulb memories” of 9/11. In other words, a majority of the American people are unable to forget the brutality of that portentous morning, and the pain it caused them.
The physical and mental scars sustained by the survivors of the 9/11 terror strikes have made it difficult for them to forget the tragedy. According to Forbes, most of the Americans are still struggling to reconcile with the loss of their loved ones. Further, 75,000 people out of those fortunate enough to have survived the horrific attacks, continue living with a plethora of health challenges. Coincidentally, most of these ailments are a direct outcome of exposure to the same infamous terrorist attacks.
Fortunately, the Zadroga Act passed in December 2015, takes care of such survivors. Daily News reports, the landmark legislation is officially known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, 2015. It aims to provide life-long health benefits to the 9/11 survivors and honors the late New York Police Department (NYPD), Detective James Zadroga. He died of a pulmonary illness due to working long hours on “The Pile” at Ground Zero. The Act created a WTC Health Program for the 9/11 survivors. According to Forbes, during July 2016, 74,968 people enrolled in the health program. This includes both the survivors and responders (volunteers, emergency services providers, and recovery and cleanup workers) of the 9/11 disaster.
Finally, the annual commemoration of the tragedy prevents the wounds from healing completely. Every year people assemble in a ceremonial fashion to pay tribute to the slain heroes of WTC. The ceremony is attended by the families of the deceased, elected officials and first responders. According to the Wall Street Journal, besides singing the national anthem and reading out the names of those killed in the attacks, the memorial also includes observing six moments of silence, which are timed to recall the most crucial moments of Sept. 11, 2001.
The entire ritual might seem utterly respectful. However, making everyone live the entire crisis-laden situation year-after-year in the name of paying tribute to those who will never return is indeed torturous. It prevents the memories of the tragedy from fading away from the peoples’ minds by keeping them fresh and alive. This inadvertently prevents the survivors of the fateful event from escaping the psychological trappings of 9/11 a date that should not have seen the light of the day.
Opinion News by Bashar Saajid
Edited by Cathy Milne
THE HUFFINGTON POST: Together, We Remember September 11
STATISTIC BRAIN: 9/11 Death Statistics
CNBC: 15 years after September 11 attacks, downtown New York keeps rising
FORBES: 15 Years Later: September 11 Is Not Just A Memory
THE DAILY NEWS: Passage of Zadroga Act life-changing for thousands as death toll for 9/11-related illnesses likely to exceed amount killed during attack
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Sept. 11 Attack Remembered in New York City
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Allen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Alan Strakey’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License