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America Remembers 9/11: Your Answers on What’s Changed

August 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the NewsHour and local PBS stations have launched a new project called the 9/11 Video Quilt. We've collected reflections from Americans across the country about what's changed since 2001. Here's a sampling of the responses so far.
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KWAME HOLMAN: We have launched a new project ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sep. 11 attacks. We call it the 9/11 Video Quilt. Together with our colleagues at PBS stations across the country, we have collected your thoughts on what’s changed since 2001.

Here’s a sampling of the responses so far.

Question: Was the course of your life changed on 9/11? If so, how?

DEENA KUKO, California: It absolutely was. To be truthful, before 9/11, I felt like any average American. I wake up every day and I felt part of society and whatnot.

And I was made aware that I wasn’t a full American, or not an average or normal American, right after Sep. 11. It’s like I went to sleep an American and I woke up an Arab, even though I was born and raised in America.

Question: How would you describe current relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the U.S.?

SENSAI BASEICK, Delaware: Well, so far as the rest of the world, you know, they still look at Muslims and non-Muslims the same. It’s just, in America, we focus on religion, opposed to who you really are inside. And that makes a difference, because whether you’re Muslim, Christian, or whatever your belief is, you can still — you’re still capable of the same things so far as like what happened in Norway.

It didn’t matter his religion. He still chose to do what he did. So, it’s just, in America, we choose to keep our basis on religion, color of skin and things like that, that don’t have much to do with the inside, basically.

Question: It was often said that 9/11 “changed everything.” Did it?

JIM ROSENBERG, Wisconsin: I think it changed things in a way that people began to recognize how destructive it is when you have people that can’t communicate and can’t get along, and that they resort to that type of violence.

And so I’m not sure that the underpinnings of 9/11 are anything new, but to have it play out in this way. And, of course, now we’re involved really in two or three wars. And so it’s been pretty stark. And we have come to accept war as a way of life in our country right now. It isn’t even something that we talk about. And that’s a big difference.

Question: It was often said that 9/11 “changed everything.” Did it?

GLENDA GARCIA, California: I think so, yes. I think our country is not the same that it was before. And I don’t know if it will ever be the same again in terms of our economy and, you know, the safety and all the threats. And we’re on red, and then we’re on yellow, and we really don’t know. Like, it seems like they’re doing a lot, but I don’t think there’s a lot of information for us out there to see what each color means. I don’t know.

KWAME HOLMAN: Those four videos were produced in partnership with WHYY Philadelphia, KPBS San Diego and Wisconsin Public Television.

You can see more of the Video Quilt on our website and also learn how to submit your own video for it. Pieces of the quilt will be featured in the NewsHour’s special coverage of 9/11 to be broadcast that night on most PBS stations.

All that and more is on our website at NewsHour.PBS.org.