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9/11 anniversary: Your e-mails

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(CNN) -- CNN.com asked users for their thoughts on how life has changed in the five years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Here is a sampling of the responses, some of which have been edited:

It seems that, since 9/11, Americans have become more edgy and suspicious, perhaps due to an increased feeling of helplessness. I think Americans naturally have been accustomed to having control over their lives, and the 9/11 attacks made many of us realize that there are aspects of our lives that are simply beyond our control. This lack of control has lead to animosity and anger at a general level and still permeates many of our lives.
David Hannes, Fitchburg, Wisconsin

It was a beautiful, clear day in New York. On my way to work on the express bus from Brooklyn, I passed the World Trade Center at 8:30 a.m. When I got to the office, a co-worker said a plane hit the WTC. I couldn't believe it. My son works for Cantor Fitzgerald and went through the 1993 bombings. I called his office on the 101st floor of the North Tower but there was no answer. He called me sobbing and said he had taken the day off. From his apartment window, he could see the towers burning and told me that where his office was there, was a big, black hole. My husband was on his way to a job interview and was stuck in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel when the tragedy occurred. He had to flee on foot back to Brooklyn as the debris came rolling into the tunnel when the towers collapsed. My office building was evacuated. A month later, I lost my job because of the attacks. There were no job opportunities in New York for me or my husband, so we decided to sell our home in Brooklyn and move to our vacation home in the Poconos full time. After two years in the rural mountains, we knew we had to move. We decided to move to Miami where the weather is great and my husband found employment. We visit NYC frequently because my family is there and we want to visit them. We have never gone to Ground Zero as it hurts too much. I will never forget 9/11 as long as I live. It's like I have a broken heart that just won't heal. My life collapsed the day the towers came down. I thank God every day that my family is intact and that my son is a survivor.
Denyse Bloom, Miami, Florida

People who think the nation is in worse shape since 9/11 need to open your eyes and educate yourselves. That day caught us all, including our president, whom I staunchly support, with our pants down. We won't be caught off guard again, and our president is committed to that. We've killed and captured many of al Qaeda's operatives so far, who would be walking our streets with AK-47s if they had the chance. We're learning how to tighten security on all fronts. We've made mistakes, but we've been successful in warding off further attacks. We've removed a brutal dictator from power and brought him to trial. In the states, we're learning how to spot splinter cells and capture those who would do us harm. Plus, the good people of Iraq and Afghanistan, both men and women, have voted in elections without fear of brutal regimes for the first time. Freedom is something they will not want to live without ever again.
Steve Corbett, Tallahassee, Florida

Life is, by very far, much, much worse than it was five years ago. The cost of traveling by air has doubled. I have witnessed invasive searches in airports of toddlers and wheelchair-bound persons in their 80s. Every person boarding an airplane now must remove their shoes because one person did something stupid. Do I feel safer? Absolutely not, but if we did feel safe, Mr. Bush would have no further justification to continue the senseless carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan. How do I feel? Helpless, embarrassed, ashamed. The U.S. seems to have lost its collective mind and conscience. Almost no one seems willing to listen to reason. Voices of moderation go unheard. We could have cured hunger, poverty and lack of education in the U.S. We could have constructed a distribution system for safe drinking water in almost any given third world country. We could have rebuilt New Orleans. Instead, we pour billions of dollars and thousands of casualties into an unjustifiable military action that, in even the most generous of terms, is a miserable failure. Has life changed? Alas. We are at the lowest ebb in American life since the heyday of Joseph McCarthy. I am embarrassed and ashamed to be an American.
Jay McMillen, Lubbock, Texas

How soon we forgot! Where is our anger about what happened on 9/11, where are all the flags we so proudly hung out, where is our caring for the families of those who were killed? Think about the victims and those they left behind and please fly flags all over the USA every day in memory of them.
M.J. Stanton, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Being in the military, I am used to higher security, but even our flights became a lot more of a grueling process, what with bag checks, shoe removal, and X-ray scans. I have visited Ground Zero several times, and I am always struck by the huge amount of support people are capable of: posters, pictures, T-shirts, flowers, balloons, all sorts of things can be seen in that area. As for whether or not I feel safer since, I have never felt in danger in my home country. America will always be Ground Zero for attacks, either through words, intimidation or, God forbid, physical attack. It is how we have dealt with those threats over the years that has made us stronger, as a nation, and as a world community leader.
Dean Walcott, Saratoga, New York

As a New York City native living in Pennsylvania at the time, I can recall the surreal feelings as I watched the tragedy unfolding on television. I was especially horrified to see the extent of the destruction because I knew that my nephew Martin just recently graduated from NYPD's police academy and would be involved. Indeed he was, but he was safe. My relief was short lived, however, when upon reading the list of firemen who had died in the holocaust I recognized the name of Charles Kasper, a fellow high school graduate of Brooklyn Preparatory and captain of our basketball team! He was 54, my age at the time. Now for five years, I pray and light a candle for Charlie, and when I close my eyes to remember him I recall his strong arms helping me to learn to swim so I might pass PE.
Vincent Petrosino, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

As the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, I am anxious, nervous, on edge, wondering if another attack is going to happen soon. The terrorists do not care who they kill, and that is truly scary. I think the government officials are doing all they can to keep us safe, and they have arrested many terrorists. I am shocked by how many terrorists are around the world. Are there that many mentally ill individuals around the world? How are these people so hateful to mankind? I still wondered how 19 terrorists were lined up and instructed to cause so much destruction on 9/11 and to commit suicide -- how could they have been brainwashed? I pray for those who died innocently that day, I pray for them to be at peace in the heavens above, at peace with God.
Pamela Curtis, Trenton, Michigan

I will never forget 9/11 and how it has forever changed my life. I think about it every single day. I look at every single Middle Eastern person as a possible terrorist, even though I know it is not fair or right to do. I don't think this country is going to be safe again. Terrorists will always be a step ahead and find a new way to bring this country to its knees. I pray about the victims and their loved ones, I donate to fundraisers and to our troops fighting for our freedom, and I found that I am more dedicated to the medical field and helping people, and I use the people who helped and saved lives on 9/11 as role models. I haven't seen any of the 9/11 movies because I feel it's too soon and the wound is still open. Every time a new movie comes out, it's like pouring salt on our wounds. God Bless America and its heroes!
Starla McDaniel, Peoria, Arizona

Although I will never forget what happened on 9/11/01, I seem to always be acutely sensitive to the attacks every year around August and September. I think every American citizen knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when the attacks took place that tragic September morning. Today, I travel quite frequently in my profession, and during this time of year, I seem to always envision myself helpless on the planes that I travel constantly thinking how tragic a death it would be to know you are on a suicide mission against your will and death is imminent. I often think of every child (and try hard not to think of my own children) on one of those planes. The whole event still makes me deeply remorseful for the families involved and on the other side, angry that after five years we do not have Osama bin Laden in custody. It angers me that the Taliban and other terrorist organizations in the world continue to jeer their videotapes at America to exploit the attacks as their proudest victory over our country. I still feel that George Bush should be more focused on Afghanistan and the terrorists in that part of the world. We need bin Laden captured before he dies of old age. I'm baffled that he continues sending out new videotapes without giving away his location. With all of the technology we have adopted, including satellite imagery, why is it so difficult to capture this man? Part of the problem is the freedom that we all take for granted, but I think we also lull ourselves in a false sense of security due to our country's pride and heritage. If we have to lose some of our liberties of freedom to stay safe, I think this is worth exploring.
Derrick Butterfield, Orlando, Florida

Lives of all Americans have changed. Life will never return to a pre-9/11 normal state. Nervous air travelers, who in the past only worried about the plane going down due to mechanical problems, will wonder about these things: Is there a terrorist aboard? Is there a U.S. marshal on my plane? Is there a bomb in someone's luggage? Have the terrorists come up with some new method to blow up planes or release a poisonous gas? This is only one part of life that is worrisome. Every time we stop one method of terrorism, they develop new methods. This war on terror can never end. It is not a war that can be "won" and then be over. We must forever remain vigilant. This is something the American people must come to understand. The methods our government uses to remain vigilant are something the American people must also come to understand. They can perhaps keep us safer, but at what cost to our freedom and privacy?
K. Hardy, St. Petersburg, Florida

Five years later, I am still wondering how it happened, and how it could have happened. I don't think we lived in a safe world before 9/11, and it doesn't appear to have gotten any safer since. Safety is one of those comfort words, but a lot more illusive. Do I feel safer, or am I actually safer? And more importantly, what am I safe from? Conspiracy theories are everywhere, but anyone with a measure of intelligence has to wonder how it happened ... or how it could have happened. As far as the Pentagon is concerned, do the American people really believe that some guy fresh from pilot school could maneuver a jet with such expertise as to literally disappear into the Pentagon at near ground level without so much as hitting a telephone pole? It's a major feat for an experienced pilot to negotiate landing a plane on wet pavement. So, again, what are we safer from, and who is the enemy? I don't think I will feel safe until the truth comes out, and unfortunately, that'll probably never happen. Truth isn't valued any more than dignity or morality is, not in the government or in everyday society.
Siobhan Heady, Harper Woods, Michigan

As witness to the planes flying over my head and into the towers and running downtown to respond and do whatever I could, I find that as time has passed the pain has subsided as I relive the day through assorted docudramas and eyewitness accounts. I remember thinking that the first plane was in trouble and was going to hit the top of another building over Washington Square Park as he was descending, but I knew what happened immediately as he hit the thrusters and accelerated up and at an angle since he was drifting right. I think about running from the dust storms and the reminder of a cough that stayed with me for weeks. I think about the helplessness we felt when we were told to go home at 1:30 a.m. after waiting anxiously to help rescue our fallen comrades. I think of the bravery of the firefighters -- as we ran uptown, they ran towards certain danger. I see the firefighters at night coming out of the debris covered in white, like ghosts bathed in light. I remember spontaneous applause as buses pulled out filled with exhausted firefighters, no words spoken. I saved my mask and rubber gloves as reminders of the day, knowing that they probably wouldn't have helped and ultimately didn't. Five years later, although the events have been played out, the images and the memories live on.
Alan Campbell, Boston, Massachusetts

Ever since 9/11 I feel more insecurity when it comes to our government than anything the terrorists did. There are too many inconsistencies and too many questions the government has failed to answer. I am not saying there was any type of conspiracy theory, but I do feel that the government knew more before the attacks and did little. I do feel the war has been more out of a political agenda for money and less to do with American's safety. For that alone I no longer trust the government, especially George Bush, do the moral and correct thing -- which is to take care of all of us who make up this great country. The true heroes are the people who make up this country -- the citizens. I think everyone is confused about who to even consider for president after this. This is no longer about Democrat or Republican for me. This is more about who can I put in office who I can trust? At this point, who is there?
Melissa Miller, Macon, Georgia

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about it. I feel it has forever changed things for us here in the U.S. I wish I could feel more comfortable about how the government is handling things in regards to security. I can not imagine how those directly involved are coping with the senselessness of this all. I hate the feeling of mistrust I now have towards some individuals, no hatred, just mistrust, and I was never like that before. This has forever changed the lives of everyone here in the U.S., even if they don't realize it or want to acknowledge it.
Cindi Hawrysko, Canton, Ohio

As the fifth anniversary approaches I am filled with grief, sadness and anger once again. My heart grieves for the innocent people who lost their lives that day and the shattered remains of their family and friends left behind. My anger and my will to find, fight and defeat these terrorists no matter how long it takes is as strong this day as it was then. We as Americans have long remembered Pearl Harbor and now 9/11 is another day that will go down in infamy, and our resolve should remain strong until all the people responsible for the planning, funding and training are found and destroyed. I want Osama and his band of cowards to be nothing but yesterday's news, unworthy of a moments thought. They started it; we need to finish it.
Carol Patterson, Herndon, Virginia

My only sibling, my brother, Steven Jacobson, who worked for WPIX on the 110th floor of the first building to get hit, died that day. We were born and raised in Washington Heights in New York, and he continued to live in New York. He left behind a wife and two daughters, a mother, me and my family. After 9/11 nothing is the same; we definitely don't feel safer. Our hearts go out to all the families who lost someone that day, especially all the people who are now suffering from various ailments after having worked at Ground Zero searching for victims. I am truly glad that finally something will be done for all of these individuals who literally "sacrificed" their lives to help save others. It's the right thing to do. I have two regrets: 1) I just wished we both had let the stupid things go and said what we really should have said to each other. I am only sorry that now I will never get the chance. 2) I truly wish I had had the chance to say "goodbye." There are no words to describe how you feel when you lose someone without being able to be with them and to say goodbye. Let us never ever forget everyone who died that day and all those currently ill, and especially all the soldiers who died, as well as all of those still fighting for us.
Janice Friedlander, New City, New York

Life has returned to normal, with a few modifications. I do not feel any safer than I did on that day, but life goes on. Nothing has changed except for the fact that I have learned not to trust my government. I still do the same things that I did before, only a little more cautiously. I will honor those who lost their lives with a moment of silence on that day. But, I will also remember there are people in this world who live with 9/11 day in and day out. I hold a candle to their strength and vigilance just to survive.
Kathie Morley, Spring, Texas

During the 1970s and 1980s, I was state highway patrol officer and retired as chief. I remember the public apathy to the terrorist threat following the Munich Olympics and PLO kidnappings and murders of the '70s. Law enforcement knew the danger but couldn't get political support to address it. Following 9/11, the public response was heartening. A resolve emerged that promised decisive action to combat the organized terrorist danger. Few argued the danger or the need for security and effective aggressive tactics. Five years later the rotten smell of public apathy is back. Again, those who gain the most and contribute the least are clamoring for their creature comforts and arguing against the cost and tactics of the war on terror. 9/11 proved that the people get what they deserve. Being apathetic to the threat paved the way for 9/11. Unfortunately, as in all wars, it's the innocent populace that suffers. I lived through Vietnam and recognize the rotten smell of public apathy and self-indulgence. Will this country never learn?
Paul McGowan, Taylorsville, California

The terrorists succeeded in cracking the solid foundation of our country, and the politicians have widened the crack rather than repairing the foundation. We had a short period after the attacks where the crack was repaired and our foundation was stronger than ever, but I'm afraid we reopened the crack wider than I could have ever imagined. The actions of our leaders have divided the country and created a negative outlook on the future. I no longer feel like I live in the best place in the world. Five years ago I could have never imagined my current feeling. I'm disappointed in myself, the current hate in see in the American people, and the incompetent leaders of our country. We need to repair the foundation now and bring back the America we lost on 9/11. We all deserve better!
Brad Snyder, Royal Oak, Michigan

Unfortunately, I feel that the era of terrorism was ushered in Munich 1972, not New York 2001. As devastating as September 11 was five years ago, I won't be reliving it by watching television that day. We're no safer today than we were on September 10, 2001. There's enough death and destruction on television already; I don't need to relive that one day. Every day we watch the death toll of soldiers in Iraq climb, and there is no end to that conflict in sight. And besides, we have President Bush taking every opportunity he can to remind us that the reason we are in Iraq is because of that one day. I think that the Republican Party should thank all the networks, because it will reinvigorate their campaigns and they will, again, try to justify the Iraq war to the many idiots out there who voted for this administration, not once but twice. So has 9/11 changed my life? No, it has just made me more disillusioned with politics and the media.
Lisa Bloom, San Diego, California

I feel no safer today than I did the day before 9/11. I do feel that I have less freedom and less say in my government today than I did six years ago. I feel ashamed that my government advocates and uses secret prisons, torture and denies anyone the right to defend themselves against accusations made against them. I hope someday I can be proud again to say I'm a citizen of the United States of America.
Chris Wells, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Our precious daughter Frances was born that unforgettable morning of September 11 at 8:30. I remember feeling guilty for my joy when there was such profound loss. As we celebrate her fifth birthday I will always remember that day and the people who died and for the families who faced the loss. My heart broke for them that day. I am so thankful for my family and for my beautiful daughter.
Carrie Dousette, Mesa, Arizona

My husband is a NYC firefighter who survived 9/11. He physically walked out of that building, but he has yet to mentally return. The horror of what he saw, heard, smelled and touched is something that no man should have to deal with. We are able to do our day-to-day mundane routine, talk to our children like life is great, show the love we have for each other, and pretend how great things are, but each night we cry ourselves to sleep, because we know the reality of that horrible day. Our lives have changed dramatically and forever. We no longer live for tomorrow, we live for today because we are not sure if there is going to be a tomorrow; we no longer think a loud noise is just a noise; we no longer are able to believe that we are safe; we are suspicious of even the smallest wrongful events. ... Life used to be exciting and colorful, now it has become scary and dark. My only hope is that all our children do not suffer from this tragedy. Does anybody else realize that even the survivors did not survive? So 9/11 has changed our lives, and after five years there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. But we hope and dream that some day we will be safe again.
Jane Brogan, Staten Island, New York

I liken the 9/11 attacks to the Holocaust: many innocent people going about their days dying tragically and unnecessarily. Upon my visit to Ground Zero both just after the attack and every year later I cannot forget the horror of that day or the people directly affected. It seems many have forgotten how this country came together, for the sheer reason to mourn the dead and gather together in order to recover. It's been backbiting and division of the worst kind since. We have continued to let the event alone divide us further instead of commemorating the day to each individual who lived and died, each who had purpose and value, who belonged to someone, was loved and cherished. I care first and foremost that these thousands of lives are no longer here because they were forcibly taken away from us.
Nelda Lyons, Austin, Texas

Right after the attacks, my husband and I moved from Oregon to Montana. I found out about the attacks the morning of 9/11 while standing in the middle of a bustling Union Station in Portland, Oregon, waiting for the Amtrak to deliver my husband (boyfriend at the time) after he'd found our new home in Whitefish. A Union Station official told me about the attacks. He even led me into the employee "lounge" so I could watch television and attempt to comprehend what he'd told me. He also let me use his long-distance "code" so I could call my mother and attempt to ground myself in the midst of the most foundation-rocking news I'd ever been told. Thank you, Union Station man. Soon after the attack, and every chance I get, I have used exercise and bettering my own life in the absence of those lost on 9/11. I do that by getting on the Stairmaster at the gym and "climb" 110 floors to remind myself that you never know when your day will come, and to remember those who didn't know that, either. I remember I have my life and my health and life is too unpredictable to take for granted. I climb for those who are gone. I climb to remember what life was like on 9/10 and 9/9 and 9/8. ... I climb.
Carlin Hale, Whitefish, Montana

I feel less safe today. Not because of the terrorist attacks. Those were awful beyond belief. But our government's violent retaliation, the backlash against Muslims and the ensuing loss of our civil rights in the name of "safety" have ruined my faith in what America stands for. I thought we stood for freedom for tolerance. We should've stood up and gotten stronger in our love of freedom. Instead we became a paranoid police state. We've alienated the rest of the world. We've invaded another country. Every aspect of my personal life has changed. I can't drink water on a plane. I had to permanently turn over my fingerprints to the FBI ... so that I could get a job at UC Berkeley with the same level of clearance I'd had before. There is nearly no aspect of my life that has not worsened -- and it's not from that single attack -- it's from our country's ignorant and scared response. We have brought this on ourselves, let's stop blaming other nations/religions for the acts of a few fanatics and start looking at what we're doing to ourselves!
K. Troyan, Belmont, California

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my cousin Joe Heller lost his life in Tower One simply because he was an employee of Carr Futures and a U.S. citizen. How has our life changed? Well, obviously, we are diminished by his death and all the others taken that day, but most of us have moved forward. During the past five years, our family has suffered other losses but gains as well. Though some members of the family remain stuck in that day's aftermath, struggling with anger, grief, bitterness, and xenophobia, many more in our family continue to realize just how precious life is and how transitory. We try to remind ourselves that we are here to help one another, not hate; that bombs and gunfire can never replace those lost, only take more to join those already dead. But the family remains split on this issue, mirroring our country's split on the "war on terrorism." I'm not sure what the answer is, if there is one, but I strongly feel the need to come together in unity worldwide; it saddens me to see the split in our family and the division in the world. Spying on each other? Turning in neighbors? Profiling? Justice is not retaliation, and emotion should not cloud our reason or overtake it. Differing opinions should not and do not indicate a lack of patriotism, just the opposite. Maybe I'm an idealist and dreamer. Or maybe I'm just hoping, hoping that America, the country that I love so much, will return to its respected place in the world: a world power (with allies) which truly embraces our ideal of freedom and respect for all peoples.
Marie Cox, Canton, Ohio

All speculation on the facts aside, I feel that one of the reasons some people believe that September 11 was perpetrated in part by the government is that, on a collective level, we are trying to point out that all attack is ultimately self attack. From the perspective that all life is ultimately part of the same unity, it is self-evident that all attacks are false flag attacks. No matter who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11, we are all responsible. The integration of this truth into oneself is greatly sobering, but remains nonsensical and fearful to the majority.
Matt Dorsey, Houston, Texas

The saddest results of 9/11 have been the creation of a great political divide within our country due to a clearly misguided war, the blatant disregard for our civil liberties and constitutional rights at home, and the erosion of respect for our nation throughout the world. Our quality of life after 9/11 appears to have been forever changed by that dreadful attack and the equally dreadful failure of our country's leadership under President Bush that has turned much of the world against us. It is truly a double-edged tragedy.
Charles Kalmykow, Sarasota, Florida

I lost my brother Stuart on that terrible day. My wife and I will be joining my parents and older brother at Ground Zero on the 11th. We have gone to the site every year since this happened. Life will never return to normal. My parents have been greatly affected and suffer constant depression. I also have difficulty especially when images come on the TV when not expected. This is basically an act of radical religious fundamentalists against Western society. I feel safe in the fact that we as a country are trying to do whatever possible to stop further attacks, but am worried as there are thousands if not millions of these people out there. They do not care who they kill, as they do not care if they themselves are killed in the process of carrying out an attack in the name of their religion. My hopes and prayers go out to all people affected by 9/11 and all other terrorist attacks around the world.
Kenneth Meltzer, Framingham, Massachusetts

One unimportant change I've noticed is watching movies made before 9/11. We were watching "Die Hard" with our kids, and in the film, a truck drives into the underground parking garage of a tall building -- and my first response was, "Wait! No security, no concrete barriers?" And then I remembered ... already the increased security measures seem natural, and just driving into a building without being stopped seems strange. It makes me sad that this is the world my children have inherited.
Amy Kefauver, Kitchawan, New York

Not a day goes by I don't think about that day. I am a flight attendant and will always think about the first people who died that day, the crew. I go to work now thinking that anything can happen, and what I will do if it does. Flying is not the same. It was fun. I know the crews that day were not thinking they were going to get hijacked and die. Please always remember the crews, and be nice to the ones that still fly. I still love to fly.
Deborah Calimano, West Orange, New Jersey

Life has a new normal. I now have a big dog, big fence, and am a deadeye shot with my big gun. I am ever vigilant against unusual folks or happenings. I know my neighbors, and we all fly the flag. Anxiety is always lurking, and antidepressants are a staple in my home. I have a son and a daughter-in-law who are Marines. They both joined the Marines instead of continuing their college education. Honor, patriotism, hard work and integrity were already the norm in my family, but now we have an expectation of these things in our fellow Americans. I am determined not to be a victim, and not to let my guard down. The attacks on 9/11 were as hardcore of a wakeup call as one could ever have.
Arlene Coleman, Meridian, Mississippi

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. While the events of 9/11 should have demonstrated the expense, futility and very real dangers associated with "benevolent" hegemony, our goof-thug globocops in Washington, D.C., remain committed as ever to their interventionist foreign policies. We've had hell to pay. We'll have more.
Tony Pivetta, Royal Oak, Michigan

As a result of 9/11, my husband and I both lost our jobs. His was in the advertising industry and I had been employed by an airline since I was 19 years of age. I am now 48. Fortunately, he is again employed in the field in which he loves. I, on the other hand, am furloughed (laid off) after 28 years of being in the airline industry which I loved. I am now working at a local warehouse. My dream of retiring with medical and travel benefits for my husband and I went up in smoke just like the twin towers. Our income has been reduced between 40 and 45 percent since 9/11. We still consider ourselves lucky. We still have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Oh yes, our lives have changed.
Debra Dasenbrock, Franklin, Tennessee

September 11, 2001, a sunny day. I'm getting prepared to attend a prayer banquet. I heard the television reporter change voice and say that something had happened at the World Trade Center. As I paused to look at the TV, to my horror another plane struck the second tower. I knew then that it was not an accident. Now I feel that we are sitting ducks. The terrorists are all around us, and we will never know when they will strike, only God knows. There is no need for us to live in fear, but we must continue to do the best we can in protecting the USA. I have never been to Ground Zero. That is a place I don't believe I want to visit. I did see the "World Trade Center" movie last weekend. We should never think that we do not need each other, for that is the only way we are going to survive another attack. My heart gets heavy when I think about the thousands of lives taken, for I look at them as generations we will never see, and how someone would take those lives in the name of their religion is beyond me. May God have mercy on us all.
Rosalind Carter, Jacksonville, Florida

Being the spouse of a U.S. Army service member, the events of 9/11 have changed a lot in my life. My husband has done one tour in Iraq so far, and I feared for his life every day he was gone. My thoughts on 9/11 are that we as American people have been lied to by our own government and will never know the whole truth about these tragedies. On top of everything that happened that day, our economy is in the toilet. Our debt is growing daily, and the budget cuts are killing us. The cost of living is skyrocketing while our government plays games with the minimum wage. Spouses living overseas supporting their soldiers can't get jobs, because the government can't afford to pay them. When is this going to end? No one knows.
Rhonda Moore

When the World Trade Center was attacked, I became more involved with politics and learning about how the world views America. I am trying to understand the terrorists' tactics. What did they plan to accomplish by 9/11? From there, I focused on the effects that took place. I didn't find any answers that made sense from going to war. So I looked on the domestic side of things. For one thing, there is much more division between the American people. I can see how terrorism benefits from that. And then there's the laws. That gave me a clearer picture of what they are doing. Is it so hard to believe that they want us to make stricter laws on ourselves? That they want us to have to drop down to unconstitutional methods such as illegal conversation recording and invasion of privacy? I saw the similarity between that and the Columbine shootings. After what they did, laws put police officers in schools. There were harsher zero tolerance laws that expelled more and more students. So, look at what happens there as well. Those students can't get decent careers. They are compelled to resort to crime. Does anyone understand? Tightening the leash is not the answer. I fear the possibility that America might be playing into the terrorists' hands. They view us as the evil empire. What better idea could they have than to make it true?
Christopher Pollock, Purcellville, Virginia

We are still behind the 8-ball -- meaning our borders are still a shameful state. We have millions of illegals from all over the world walking around our country. There must be a percentage [of them] that have an agenda and are waiting impose it. We are still lacking in our ports security, The airlines are not and should not be our main concern. Our nation's ability to know who enters our country is more important. Each day the media bombs our minds and releases the views and threats of the radical movements around the world. The media are becoming more a terrorist than the real terrorist. The media are used and slant reporting to serve as a communications conduit for these radical countries and their murdering leadership. The media use their power to incite the minds of those who thrive on radical deeds. 9/11 has taught we are no longer the mighty America everyone thought we were. We have learned this: No country came to our needs during 9/11. There has been no foreign aid sent to rebuild NYC. There was no aid sent to comfort our injured and suffering. ... Why do we still buy oil from Iran when it is at the top of our terrorist list as the most radical nation in the world? America, something is missing and there are common sense answers -- yet who can speak up with out being shouted down?
Rich Lamb, Quartzsite, Arizona

My heart still aches for those who lost friends, family and loved ones in the terrible 9/11 tragedy. Each time I see photos or the numerous TV programs airing now, it just makes me ill. Being a registered nurse, I had a pretty good idea of what the people trapped in the buildings must have endured, even if only for a second or two. The thing that scares me the most is, I don't think they are through with us. No matter how secure our airports and ports are, my gut feeling is they will get through some way -- and then what? Fortunately, I do not have any small children, but how are parents with them going to explain that everything is going to be OK when we aren't even convinced ourselves? I know I'm not. I travel, and each time I get on a plane I find myself searching every face, for what I don't know -- a clue maybe that they may not be what they say they are. And guess what? I feel like everyone else is doing the same thing. Pretty sad commentary for the most powerful and greatest country in the world. I just pray the good Lord will be with us all and someone will find a way to just stop all the insanity.
Sherry Rader, Nashville, Tennessee

All American citizens should be totally disgusted and fed up with the incompetence of the leaders of this nation. If the federal government cannot stop the flow of illegals from entering this country, how can they stop the terrorists from coming in any time they want to? Instead of spending billions of dollars on building fences, why not make it mandatory for anyone who wants employment, transportation, housing, medical treatment or food to prove that they are a U.S. citizen? No one is going to stay where they cannot get food and housing, so they will go back where they came from and they will stop coming across the border. Why do we put up with politicians who are not willing to enforce the laws of this nation? Enough is enough. It is time for real change, and the only way that will happen is to clean house with the Congress and the Senate and the president and the vice president and elect all new leaders who will do what is best for this country. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.
Roger Kirkwood, Richland, Texas

I lost a lot in the attacks. I am a native New Yorker. I have not been back to New York since. I guess it is fear. I have family there; I also work in the aerospace industry and was impacted by these events with the loss of my job. Nothing will ever be the same for me. The fear of not knowing if family was alive still haunts me, fear of when it will happen again. For me it is not an if. There are feelings I have not even begun to deal with. My heart, soul and strength are with each and every person who was affected. Sad humans feel it is OK to take lives to prove a point. Are we Americans any better? We are in another country deciding what they need or do not need.
Janet Peterson, Bedford, Ohio


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I-Reporter Daniel Daly took this shot on September 11, 2005, from the top of Affinia Dumont Hotel on 34th Street, New York.

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