Remember Those Today

Remember Those Today

"I thought, how human, how modest of her, to hold down her skirt before she jumped. I couldn't look anymore."
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16 years ago, one of the most tragic events in history played out. Whether you were too young to remember it, not born yet, or remember exactly what you were doing and exactly where you were at the time it happened, there's not one person that doesn't know how significant this day is in history.

16 years ago, on September 11, 2011 it was a clear Tuesday morning until American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Boston at 7:59am with 81 passengers. A second airplane departing from Boston, United Flight 175, held 56 passengers and departed a mere 15 minutes after AA Flight 11.

Though the exact events within the plane are unclear, the cockpit of Flight 11 was breached and one of five Al-Qaeda members on board took over airway commands and headed straight towards the heart of New York City. Only 46 minutes after departure, that clear Tuesday morning turned to anything but.

American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45am. The 110-story building still stood tall, but those above the 80th floor found themselves trapped, while the 81 passengers on-board and hundreds of employees working were found dead on impact. Only 18 minutes after the first crash, at 9:03am on this no longer clear Tuesday morning, the South Tower was struck, killing all passengers on board and hundreds of workers within the building. America was under attack.

As the world gained news of this terror attack, American Airlines Flight 77, which took off at 8:20am, carrying 58 passengers, headed straight towards the Pentagon, crashing in at 9:37am. Carrying 37 passengers, United Airlines Flight 93 departed at 8:42am from Newark. Heading in the direction of Washington D.C., fearless passengers on board realized they were under attack and took initiative, trying to gain back control of the flight, fighting off the Al-Qaeda, ultimately crashing into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.

16 years ago, America suffered from the tragic events of the 9/11 attacks. The world watched in fear on live television broadcast, people called out to their loved ones to see if they were alright and made it out safe, and many stood in complete awe and disbelief.

As the streets filled with smoke and rubble, fearing for their lives, people took death into their own hands. Hundreds jumped from the towers to face their death, losing all hope of making it out alive. Hundreds on the higher levels of the Twin Towers were trapped and slowly suffocating from the heat and smoke rising from the crash. Hundreds were already dead from impact. Hundreds were scrambling to find a way out, some actually making it out alive due to them being on the lower levels of the tower. The Survivors' Stairs, as they call them, were route for hundreds of people to make it out alive, being one of the only staircases left somewhat in tact after the attacks.

16 years ago, at 9:59am, the South Tower collapsed, trapping and killing everyone that was left in it. Following suit, the North Tower collapsed at 10:28am. A reckless, heartless terror attack on the morning of September 11, 2011 killed thousands, including civilians, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.

What started off as a beautiful morning ended in one of the worlds most gruesome terror attacks.

As a result of the attacks, 2,763 people died. 2,763 people who woke up that morning, got ready for their day, wished their loved ones a goodbye and a see you later, just to never to return again.

Today, 16 years later, you will find a memorial for the 2,763 people who had their lives taken from them too soon. Two pools now line where the Twin Towers once stood. Two pools engraved with all of the names of those who passed, there for people to pay their condolences and remember those who lived in fear during the tragic events.

One World Trade Center also stands its ground next to the two pools, holding up strong and tall. A memorial museum sits next to it for anyone to visit, to learn more about the events that took place, to hear voicemail's that were left to loved ones killed, to see photographs that have never gone public, to read play-by-plays of the events, to hear stories that were left untold. Inside the museum you will find one particular quote that will make you want to remember those today. James Gilroy, a man watching from the streets of New York remembers a woman from the towers: "She had a business suit on, her hair all askew. This woman stood there for what seemed like minutes. Then she held down her skirt and jumped off the ledge. I thought, how human, how modest of her, to hold down her skirt before she jumped. I couldn't look anymore."

So on this day, September 11, 2017, remember those today. Remember those who thought that clear Tuesday morning 16 years ago was just another day. Remember those, today.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Graf

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.
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Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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Analyzing The Situation In South Africa

South Africa is in a tenuous position after President Jacob Zuma resigns from office.
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Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.

As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?

Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.

Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”

Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.

South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.

It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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