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September 14, 2001

World Trade Center Aftermath

Story and Photos by Danya Steele
Additional Reporting and Photos by Rocky Kabir and Mandela Jackson


Shock. No matter where you were, who you are, or your level of personal loyalty to the American government, 9.9 times out of ten, your initial reaction to the most recent terrorist attacks upon innocent and unsuspecting Americans was....shock. September 11, 2001, the date that has forever burned and rewritten itself into history books, governmental records, and the collective American consciousness...Devastation. SHOCK. Bewilderment. Dejection. Depression. The cycle within every human soul in America has begun...especially for those of us right here in New York City. This isn't to undermine the startling effects in Washington D.C. or even Pennsylvania for that matter, but truth be told--the greatest accumulated death toll or casualty list from these recent attacks are in New York; in other words, it has hit New Yorkers, by most accounts, the hardest.

HarlemLive is an online youth magazine-- created, edited, and produced by teens all over New York City. As all of the nation's airports have been temporarily shut down for non-military flights, the most accessible population for questioning was fortunately, right around the corner. New York City can seem like a BIG place, but with the titanic-sized WTC (World Trade Center) employee population of 50,000, here in New York, you either knew someone who worked in one of the buildings, or knew someone else who did. By most accounts, it's fair to say that everyone in New York [let alone, THE WORLD] has been affected. The reach of this atrocity is long-winded...and painful. It hurts. The day after the World Trade Center explosions, Rocky Kabir and I decided to ride down to the Greenwhich Village area, probing the minds and hearts of people along New York City's streets for their responses to the events of September 11, 2001.

Name: Calvin Smith
Age: 26
Residence: New York
Occupation: Musician

HL: How are your family and friends?
CS: They're ok, but my brother was minutes away from the whole thing when it all happened. He saw the second plane crashed into the building.
HL: How do you feel about this?
CS: It's sickening
HL: What do you think the next step for the U.S government should be?
CS: Retaliation.
HL: Do u think they should rebuild it?
CS: Yes, because life goes on; replace it. This'll show how united we all are in New York City...just all these people being here...just showing their support means a lot.

Name: Maryheath Johnson
Age: Unknown
Residence: Brand New New Yorker
Occupation: Student

HL: How are are your friends and family?
MJ: My family is ok. But I have a friend who works in that building who I haven't heard from yet. He was working on the 101st floor.
HL: How do you think we could of prevented this from happening?
MJ: The building was WAY too tall. There was no good reason to have a building that tall. We must tighten security.
HL: What should the next step for the United States government should be?
MJ: [The terrorists responsible] have to pay for what they did.

Name: Belal Kahn
Age: 28
Residence: NYC
Occupation: N/A

HL: How are you and your family?
BK: My family is fine, but most of my friends that work there...I haven't heard any news from them yet. I hope they are ok.
HL: How do you feel about what is going?
BK: I feel awful. I mean everyone feels awful.
HL: Do you think there might be any type of discrimination towards you because of your ethnicity?
Maybe in other states but not in this city...and besides, I have loved ones that I am also worried and concerned about.

Name: Aretha Cole
Age: 32
Residence: Brooklyn, NYC
Occupation: Federal Express Agent

HL: How are your friends and family?
AC: Yeah...they're alright you know...no bad news with any of my loved ones so you know...that's a good thing. I'm just grateful.
HL: Now that this tragic event has hit so close to home..what do you think should be the [U.S.] government's reaction?
AC: Well it makes sense to go after the right places..it doesn't make sense to begin destroying people. Just KNOW what you're doing before you do it.
HL: What do you feel about a U.S. retaliation?
AC: I don't know how we can go afer them. Things are very uncertain and unclear right now.
HL: Where were you when this happened?
AC: I was at home; I was actually supposed to be right in front of the World Trade Center. So you know..I got lucky. My friends were actually calling me about it, and I just thought they were joking. When I saw it on all of the news channels...I was just like WOW; this is real crazy.
HL: How did you feel when you woke up this morning?
AC: Happy to be here.

Name: Kenneth Veltz
Age: 50
Residence: Queens, NYC
Occupation: Musician; Composer

HL: How are your friends and family? Are they all okay?
KV: Yeah..all of my loved ones are okay..as far as I know.
HL: What should be the U.S. government's reaction to this tragedy?
: There should have already been a reaction. We have a situation now where this [terrorist] organization has claimed responsibility; what have we been waitng for and what are we doing?
HL: What do you feel about a U.S. retaliation?
KV: If we find out that it was DEFINITELY Afghanistan who harbored these terrorists or DEFINITELY some other country, then I say, LET EM FLY. I would sleep like a baby knowing that it's [war] going on. We have to find out who's backing them financially.
HL: How did you feel when you woke up this morning?
KV: I was grief stricken yesterday; I was angry this morning.


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