Remembering the World Trade Center

by Peter Sigrist

In memory of September 11th, 2001, I'd like to ask three questions. What stands out most as you look back? Did it alter the path you've taken in life? And does its meaning for you change with time?

The chilling suddenness, the heroism, the remaining scars all come to mind. The initial terror was replaced by a constant feeling of impending crisis. I began listening to the news constantly.

I think it changed my path. At the time I believed world trade would bring peace and prosperity. The Seattle protests of 1999 seemed narrow-sighted. September 11th didn't change my thinking on this, but I no longer saw financial gain as the answer.

It wasn't that I blamed the events of September 11th on global capital. Instead, they reminded me that other pursuits were more important when life could be taken so unexpectedly. There were problems to address directly. The attacks nullified assumptions that these problems would subside as more people took part in the global economy.

Still, the World Trade Center is more than a symbol of globalization. It means different things to different people and at different times. It is inspiration and excess, monotony and elegance, power, vulnerability, and cooperation. Its meanings often contradict each other. Like another legendary resident of New York City, it contains multitudes.

We often hear that September 11th changed the world. It has also changed us individually, and we change it. Somewhere in our minds, the World Trade Center is still a marriage site and workplace. It is where our parents took us on first visits to New York, windswept lookouts on the city from above, dizzying pillars to the sky from below.

Credits: Photo from


  1. I was in the sixth grade when 9-11 happened, and it was more like a game for me. My school was in East Harlem and my peers and I thought it was cool to see the smoke for there. We weren't allowed to go on the internet or listen to the radio so we made up our own stories of what the attacks were like and who were behind them.

    It was all actually very fun until I was one of the last kids waiting for their parents to come get them. School was dismissed shortly after the attacks, and my mom, who worked about 40 blocks away did not reach my school until 2 pm. There was such much traffic. Upon leaving the school there were people screaming, and crying and it wasn't until we finally made it home in Brooklyn did I realize that the country was under attack and that a war was at hand. I had never thought of war being apart of my life. I honestly thought it had all ended with Vietnam, but here were people crying in the street, terrified of things they didn't know.


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