Where Were You On 9/11?

Where Were You On 9/11?

A remembrance of 9/11 through the eyes of three generations.
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Fifteen years have gone by, and for most people, the images are still etched into their brains. September 11, 2001 was a day that severely changed our country. A sense of trust was lost and measures were taken to prevent something like this from happening again.

One photo that has been shared throughout social media exposes the fact that the current high school freshmen class were not even born yet when 9/11 happened. They will be learning about it as a historical event rather than something they experienced.

On that day, I was three years old, so I did not have the mental capacity to comprehend what was going on and why my mother was glued to the television. I just barely remember that day because I was so young. In fact, all I clearly remember was the noise. I grew up in a neighborhood directly behind Joint Base Cape Cod. At the time, this was an active Air Force base, meaning that jets were taking off left and right to go help in New York City. I remember my house shaking because there were so many jets taking off, and they were louder than anything my little ears could handle. The noise did not end there. Those jets sparked the cries from my then 18-month-old baby brothers. That is all I remember from that day, and I have been trying to piece together small memories because I do not want to forget. I decided the best way to do this was to talk to my family. I figured I would get a better idea of how the events impacted my family by talking to three different generations: my sister, my mom and my grandmother.

My sister:

My older sister was in fourth grade on 9/11 and remembers every move she made that day. She recalled the noise as well because the jets from the Cape were the first responders. She remembered how many of her peers were dismissed from school to be home with their parents, and she can even name each kid in her class who was dismissed. This was 15 years ago and these small details have yet to disappear.

The teachers did not disclose to the students what was transpiring, but it was clear to even the youngest children that something was wrong. Her teacher was a nun from New Jersey, and she was visibly upset. The students later found out that her Convent in New Jersey overlooked the New York City skyline.

My sister recalls walking home with three of her friends and hearing that the president was safe on a neighbor’s radio. At that moment she knew something was wrong. When she turned onto our road, my mother was out front with our neighbors, and my brothers were in the baby pen. Everyone was outside just talking about what had happened. That night my mother made my sister do her homework in the kitchen while she watched the news. The magnitude of this event still did not register with my sister until she got to school the next day. Her teacher gave the class a speech on love and kindness and ended up in tears. It was at that moment that the 10-year-old began to comprehend the catastrophe that had just struck our country.

My mother:

The morning of September 11, my mother was home with me and my brothers. My twin brothers were 18 months old at the time, but they had been born three and a half months early, meaning they had an early intervention nurse who came to our house. They were proceeding with their appointment when the noise of the jets shook the house. My mother nor the nurse knew what was happening until my father called. He told them to put on the news right away, and that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers in New York. They were glued to the television for three consecutive hours and watched as the second tower was hit. The nurse's husband called her to tell her that he had been evacuated from the federal building in Boston. My mom recalls thinking that that moment was the start of World War three.

My grandmother:

My grandparents were enjoying their morning coffee as they listened to the news on their radio. They lived in Plymouth at the time, and did not hear the same commotion my home did. They still heard jets, but not in the same magnitude that the Cape did. As they listened to the news they heard someone announce that the first tower had been hit. They immediately rushed to the television and turned it on just in time to see the second tower hit. This was an image that they would never get out of their minds.

Later that day they went down to the Plymouth waterfront to take a walk and get some air. This is an area that is generally populated with pedestrians and you can almost never find a parking space. At that moment, it was eerily quiet. They saw a large cruise ship loading passengers into smaller boats to bring them ashore because all ships were ordered to seek refuge in a safe harbor and all flights were redirected to the closest airports.


From talking to my family about this, I was able to piece together what happened that day and how it affected my family. I learned that you can ask anyone “where were you when the planes hit the Twin Towers?” and they will respond with more detail than you could ever imagine. They know everything from where they were when it happened to what they ate for breakfast that morning. It is a day that is etched into the mind of millions. Fifteen years later, each image is as clear as it was on that day in our nation’s history.

Cover Image Credit: Clio

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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