Photo by Sebastian Urbina, news clippings courtesy of the Ranalletta Family
DECEMBER 07, 1941-
7:55 pm, a plane sporting the rising sun descends over the horizon, edging closer and closer at a distressing rate towards the unsuspecting maritime port. The roaring of the turbines, the sputtering of artillery scraping the decks, the blacked-out sky covering the rising suns. When the rising sun disappeared and dawn emerged, the attack’s damage crippled the Pacific fleet.
American casualties were in the thousands, with at least Two thousand four hundred and three deaths from the immediate attack, most of whom were located on the USS Arizona, with the death toll of 1,177 sailors.
This organized attack on American soil would set up a chain of events that propped America up as the world’s foremost superpower, driving America to elevate itself economically, patriotically, and bureaucratically. The devastating attack would compel Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt to declare war on Japan, officially coming to the assistance of the Allied powers during WWII.
Many weapons were needed if America was to support their allies in Europe, the Pacific Islands, and Africa, so to facilitate this massive growth in weapon development, the government and private corporations created thousands of jobs to assist in the war effort. The creation of jobs would increase the already worn-out economy that was still recovering from the aftermath of the Great Depression.
America created nuclear weapons and stronger artillery guns in the chaos of war to combat a stronger and more determined enemy. After using these weapons of war to bring down the Nazi’s, Mussolini, and the Japanese empire, America’s new enemy was once its strained ally, the soviet union.
The Cold war, instigated by such hostilities between America and the USSR, would lead to a massive switch in power, allowing for the officials and bureaucrats of Washington to add to the authorities that the executive and legislative branches would garner during wartime. This push for a stronger government would soon lead to the government losing the people’s trust. These events were all preceded by one attack on American soil. A day-long remembered for cataclysmic events that would follow.
“A date which will live in infamy” – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
SEPTEMBER 09, 2001-
9/11, in a similar vein to the attack on Pearl Harbor, was one of the only attacks on America’s mainland. The strategic attack organized by the infamous Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden would attack three landmarks that had significant meaning to America and its standing in the world. The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the third target, which was believed to be the White House. Targeting the World Trade Center––a collection of buildings that represented America’s booming success in business and wealth–– in Bin Laden’s mind was showing America that their wealth can be easily broken. Same with the Pentagon, showing that America’s defense is inadequate and that they aren’t the superpower they once were. The attack on the white house would have similar intentions if the third jet ever reached Washington before the passengers rose in defense against the hijackers.
These attacks devastated America, with under 3,000three thousand casualties, hundreds of families losing loved ones, and millions more affected by not only the aftermath of destruction left in the city of New York but the war following this gruesome attack on America. Bin Laden believed that America would step down after such a critical blow to what he thought to be their ego, but the only thing he managed to do was wipe the beast that once brought down the Japanese at their peak. America didn’t stand down. Instead, it fought back, chasing Al-Qaeda down to Pakistan to kill Bin-Laden. This “war on terror” would last for almost 20 years, with casualties in the thousands, and governments changing drastically in the pursuit of the mad man who planned the attack.
Yes, the events of 9/11 matter to me, similar to how the events of Pearl Harbor mattered to the people alive during WWII and the Cold War. Not only do the consequences affect my generation, but an attack of that magnitude brings one to wonder how valuable life is and how easily it could be wiped out. Bin Laden’s goal was to fearmonger, to make people think that an attack of that scale could happen again. Instead, he just made their resolve stronger and the patriotism of the country more intact. I can still see the effects of 9/11 in my life and the lives of the people around me. Boarders being secured, airline security tightening its grip, people equating minor terror attacks to the day the world stood still. It’s essential to keep a day like that in memory. To commemorate the heroes on that day and recognize what it means to have what we have today.
“A date which will live in infamy” – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt