9/11 through the eyes of LaGuardia students

It has been twenty years since the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks reshaped New York City. Many LaGuardians today were too young to remember and many more were not even born. How do we continue to connect to the shock, grief, and lessons of that day?


We have created this exhibit to help LaGuardians today connect their thoughts and experiences in the wake of COVID lockdown to the authentic thoughts and experiences of LaGuardia's Philosophy students grappling with the September 11 tragedy. The following passages represent a small sample of thoughts and reactions from the students in Dr. John Chaffee’s Fall I 2001 Introduction to Philosophy class. We invite all who read them to add their reflections and help create a new record of thought for the future.


If you would like the memories and thoughts you share here to become part of our Archive and be preserved and protected for future researchers, please press “Submit” at the bottom of the page when you are done.

Reaction

Question 1: Everyone who experienced the attacks on the World Trade Center remembers where they were and how they felt at that moment. Is that the same or different for the COVID-19 pandemic? When did you hear that we were going into lockdown? What was your first reaction?


Loss

Question 2: On September 11, 2001, 2,997 people were killed in a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States. Since January 2020, over 4.5 million people worldwide have perished from COVID-19, including over 33,000 in New York City. It is difficult to conceive the enormity of those losses. How did the pandemic personally affect you? Would you like to share a memory about your experience?


Detail from "The Attack and its Aftermath: Finding Unity in Community" – LaGuardia Live Wire, October 2001. Archived in the '9/11 Remembrance Collection', Institutional Archives, LaGuardia Community College. link to original document

Detail from "The Attack and its Aftermath: Finding Unity in Community" – LaGuardia Live Wire, October 2001. Archived in the '9/11 Remembrance Collection', Institutional Archives, LaGuardia Community College. link to original document

Detail from "The Post Sept. 11 Classroom: Faculty Confront the Issues". Archived in the '9/11 Remembrance Collection', Institutional Archives, LaGuardia Community College. link to original document

Unity

Question 3: Many LaGuardians remembered the outpouring of love from neighbors and friends in the days after the September 11 attacks. Did you witness similar acts of camaraderie during the COVID-19 pandemic? How did you find ways of creating community? How did you cope?


Detail from the announcement for "A Changed World: A Global Community Reflects", September 11th, 2002, link to original document

Division

Question 4: Despite what many LaGuardians remember as a time of unity, that was not the experience for everyone. There was simultaneously a hateful and violent backlash against our Muslim communities. Likewise, during COVID-19 anti-Asian hate speech and violence increased dramatically in New York City. If you could say something to the Muslim student who stood up for her family in the face of her classmate’s hateful stereotyping, what would it be? What meaningful action might you be able to take to fight anti-Asian hate today?


LaGuardia's Tribute

A recording of the World Trade Center Vigil held at LaGuardia Community College with college members and local leaders speaking on the 9-11 attacks.

Staff article from the LaGuardia Live Wire, October, 2001. Archived in the '9/11 Remembrance Collection', Institutional Archives, LaGuardia Community College. link to original document

A hallway size poster set up for people at LaGuardia Community College to write down their own reflections on the events and immediate after math of 9/11. The poster was hung in a hallway from September to end of October 2001. Archived in the '9/11 Remembrance Collection', Institutional Archives, LaGuardia Community College. link to original document

Hope

Question 5: In the wake of the September 11 attacks many people were asking, “How will the world change after this?” Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted so many of the injustices in our society, our question is, “How should the world change after this?” How do you hope “the makeup of human thought” will change after COVID-19?


    Project Development Team:
  • Cheri Lynne Carr, Associate Professor, Humanities Department, LaGuardia Community College
  • Soraya Ciego-Lemur, Deputy Director, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
  • Mike Schuwerk, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Art Direction and Design
  • Douglas Di Carlo, Archivist, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
  • Thomas Cleary, Archivist, Institutional Archives
  • Oleg Kleban, Information Systems Associate, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
  • Isadora Martinez, Front-End Developer, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives

    LaGuardia and Wagner Archives Staff:
  • David Mezick, Archivist
  • Stephen Petrus, Historian, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
  • Molly Rosner, Assistant Director of Education Programs, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
  • Stephen Weinstein, Assistant to the Director
  • Brandon Calva, Videographer
    Special Thanks:
  • Kenneth Adams, President, LaGuardia Community College
  • Paul Arcario, Provost VP for Academic Affairs
  • John Chaffee, Professor Emeritus, Humanities Department
  • Richard K. Lieberman, Director, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives



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