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15 Years Later

On September 11th, 2001, the world was stunned.  That day, radicalized al-Qaeda terrorists crashed into America’s iconic World Trade Center buildings, killing almost 3,000 people and injuring another 6,000.  In response to this act, U.S. President George W. Bush launched the Global War on Terror.  Fifteen years later, terrorism still remains a prominent issue and continues to oppose the free world.  Because terrorism is still so relevant, it is of vital importance that we not only continue to remember 9/11, but also take away all the best lessons.  September 11th, 2001 was a strange day.  What occurred that day has the immortal power to not only destroy but also restore faith in humanity.   The aftermath of 9/11 was utterly moving.  People all around the world expressed their deepest sympathies, many Americans even reached out and tried to join in the rescue and recovery effort.  Everything clearly shows that most of us on the planet have no intention of siding with terror.  And that is the single most important lesson from this devastating experience.

It is well known that the development of terrorism has led to the demonization and deploration of many Islamic followers.  The psychology behind that is completely understandable.  Many of us feel heavily anxious about terrorism and are especially worried for the future of our land.  Nobody wants to live in a world that is not safe.  Nobody wants to live in a world that is constantly plagued by dissent and uncertainties.  However, it is of vital importance that we remember that we cannot blame the Islam faith for the rise of terrorism.  To put it simply, the logic of that sort of generalization is similar to condemning all men just because more men have committed crimes.  It is not only unfair, but is also completely dangerous.  When we feel hatred and open ourselves up to xenophobia, we also become much more vulnerable for political manipulation.  Furthermore, the discrimination against Islam only breeds more detestation among our own people.  A world without trust only divides and segregates us.  If the free world desires to continue moving forward, then its citizens must have the appropriate mindset to go along with these rapid changes.  Therefore, it is so important for us to have an open mind and maintain the same values that make us proud of who we are.  

As U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  We pulled through 9/11 because we were united and shared the special connection that only develops under extreme difficulties.  And that is the single most valuable lesson to remember from that devastating day.  We can overcome anything as long as we do it together. 

By MARGARET LU Sept. 12, 2016 on USCNPM


  • The U.S.-China Perception Monitor (中美印象) is an online publication that explores perception and misperception in U.S.-China relations through insightful commentaries, interviews with experts, and profiles on key figures in the bilateral relationship.