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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:
September 10, 2006, I walked through an enormous field of waving U.S. flags -- 3,000 of them -- which were placed at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield in honor of the victims of 9/11. I was reminded that each one of those flags represents someone just like me, someone who once had parents, or children, or brothers and sisters that they loved and cared for; someone who was merely living their life on that horrible day when it was so violently taken from them. Even today, five years later, I still sometimes cry for the victims and their families, and for our innocence lost. I don't think our children will ever know the sense of security we knew in the '50s and '60s. The world had changed. But America is still great, and I refuse to let terrorists beat us down. Life goes on, and it should go on abundantly. And so shall we.
I was at school with my first class when the first plane struck. I felt so nauseous and full of dread. My young students looked to me for consolation and guidance, but I felt woefully inadequate. "From this moment on, your life will never be the same," was all I could muster.
When September 11 happened it changed my life. I wanted to do something about and I have. I am now in the Army Reserve. I want to fight for and defend my country. I also have a lot more patriotism than before. I don't think my life will ever be normal now and I think it's a good thing. I feel somewhat safer than before the attacks but still, things could happen. I have never been to Ground Zero. I have never even been to New York, but I would like to go. I am remembering the victims by fighting for them. I love the feeling the Army gives me. It's a feeling of pride, patriotism, and accomplishment.
I am from Sri Lanka. In my corner of the world, terrorism and bomb blasts are nothing new due to the ongoing civil war which has been there for nearly two decades. Nevertheless, 9/11 did affect my family as my brother was working at JP Morgan (down the same street as WTC) at that time. For hours and hours we tried to call to find out whether he was alright but the telephone lines were jammed. It was terrifying not knowing what was happening, not knowing what to do, not knowing whom to call. My family went through a severe panic mode. Finally my brother had called an aunt in Canada to say he was alright and for her to call us in Sri Lanka as he could not get through. So America, even though we're a little island and might have not have any significance to the world, yet there were people affected and we do share your mourning ... as we too suffer from it ... everyday.
I am incredibly concerned about the lack of action that has been taken since September 11. Why, after all this time, have we still not implemented all of the recommendations from the 9/11 commission? It seems that Americans have become complacent. Why have we not captured Bin Laden? The war in Iraq seems to have taken all the attention away from the fact that we were attacked on our own soil. The victims and their families deserve much more than they have been given, and all Americans deserve to feel like the government has taken every action possible to keep us safe. Shame on us for not holding our government accountable.
I, like most New Yorkers, was deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks. They were right in our back yard. We all lost friends, loved ones, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances. Watching snippets on the news makes it feel like it happened only yesterday, even though five years have passed. The same emotions surface, the same helplessness. And the same question comes back again and again and again. Why?
I used to have rights, but not anymore. We used to have trust where we now have suspicion. Now, if someone brings so much as a tube of lipstick on an airplane, they're treated as Osama bin Laden himself. That's wrong, America. America has changed for the worse, and now we all are paying for it. I at times have to ask myself, "Is this what I spent nearly a decade of my life in the military for?" My silence today will not just be for the victims in the towers, but also for the victims who wore American flags on their uniforms who died overseas.
It would be absurd to say that 9/11 hasn't changed our way of life. Even living in rural up-state New York where I've always felt safe, the fear still remains in your mind. My life hasn't changed that much. I was in college at the time and I can remember how scared we all were. I honestly thought the world was ending. It is sad though to think that it takes a disaster such as 9/11 to bring this country together. I think we should all be proud to be Americans and not only after what happened that day. I have been to Ground Zero twice in the past five years and it makes my stomach turn when I am there. I can't stop watching the broadcasts of that day's events on TV.
There were no ceremonies, no oaths spoken, no forms signed. But September 11, 2001, was the day I became an American. I moved from Canada to Omaha in 1997, but never truly felt like I belonged here. On that day, five years ago, as the country stood together, I joined in. I may not have a U.S. Passport, or the ability to vote in elections. But in my heart, I am an American.
One of my high school students told me of the attacks as she walked into my class first period. The rest of the day was a blur of shock and disbelief. We abandoned the traditional schedule, and held class where ever we could find a TV. Students and teachers alike cried, pondering what this would mean to us tomorrow, and for the students about to leave the safety of high school, what their futures would hold -- and where would it take them? The evening was spent in a long line waiting for gas mixed with updates and recaps of the horrible day. On this fifth anniversary of the attacks, I am a wife of a soldier, due to come home in 10 days. I'm making signs of red, white, and blue for soldiers whose loved ones can't make it in, and for my husband. I feel safer, knowing I will again sleep in the arms of someone who loves our country so much, he is willing to sacrifice his life for our freedom.
Tomorrow, September 11, 2006, my husband Bill and I will celebrate our son Evan's fifth birthday. That beautiful September day in 2001 was the happiest day in our lives. At 7:41 that night we brought the most wonderful little blond-haired blue-eyed boy into this world. Unfortunately, he and his little brother will probably never know the security that his father and I felt just hours before he was born. He wants to know why these people did this and I still have no answer after five years of thinking about it. We will go to school tomorrow with his red, white and blue cupcakes that Evan asked for and celebrate on a day when there isn't very much to celebrate.
I-Reporter Daniel Daly took this shot on September 11, 2005, from the top of the Affinia Dumont Hotel on 34th Street in New York.
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