WORD ON THE STREET | 20 years later —remembering 9/11

David Shankbone/MGN

As the nation remembered the tragic and stunning terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, events that rocked and changed America, the MSR took to the streets to ask community members to reflect on the solemn occasion.

We asked attendees at Open Streets West Broadway: Where were you when the September 11 attacks occurred and what are your thoughts about it 20 years later?

Photo by Nikki Love Aaron Hill

Twenty years ago during 911, I just landed in Minnesota from Chicago. When I first saw the first plane had already hit the building, I turned on the news, flipped through a few different channels, and saw the same thing.

It was surreal; it took a while to engage in what was going on. Once the news started rolling out, we found out it was a hijacking and whatnot, but it was actually terrorists.

You look at the United States pulling out of Afghanistan now, so it seems like we were there for nothing. To some capacity, we don’t know the relationship or what happened with the Taliban, or what they have been dealing with. The news media can portray people how they want to … As I look back on 911, I think, what was really the reason [the terrorists] were mad? We only know what the government tells us.

Aaron Hill

Photo by Nikki Love Karen

I was on my way to work and had just dropped my son off. My husband called me and said, ‘Karen something happened to the World Trade Center.’ By the time I got to work, there was a television up so we could see what was happening. I saw the second plane fly into the Trade Center. My thought was that we were under attack and my mind said why?

I didn’t fully understand why we were under attack. That day I was glued to the television [trying] to get a better understanding of what was going on. What have we done that was so terrible that someone would attack us in this way? 

Twenty years later, I feel the U.S. has made a lot of mistakes. We’re trying to do the right thing, but we don’t take enough time to understand the culture that we are dealing with. When we go in [to another country], we try to put on them what we think they should be instead of listening to who they are and try to figure out how we can work together. I’m glad we left Afghanistan because it’s their culture that needs to be developed. It’s not for us to dictate how they should develop.


Photo by Nikki Love Bakeshow Baker

I was living my life like everyone else. The world got shut down with disbelief. When you see the horrific video of the plane crashing into the Twin Towers it was unbelievable. Many thoughts came to my mind with me being a father. Were there children and family members that were inside those buildings? And just the thought that your loved one works in one of those buildings.

Thinking about the people making devastating phone calls to their loved ones, letting them know that this is the end of their life. As a parent, that was a horrific thought, and as an American, that was scary thought. How in America we allowed something like 911 to happen.

Today, I’m looking at the situation a little differently. I believe it made America stronger when it comes to how they got things on a plane. The prospect of being searched and having things taken away is the reason TSA is on their jobs. America will never let something like this happen again.

Bakeshow Baker

Photo by Nikki Love DeAndre Morris

I was a junior in high school and I literally was walking into my American History class. I know right (what a coincidence), my teacher had it on the television, but I didn’t know what was going on until we sat down. My history teacher talked about what was going on the television–that’s when I understood what had happened.

Years are going to go by but I’m not going to forget what happened 20 years ago. As years go by with everything that has happened in the world with the pandemic, [9/11] seems to have gone by the wayside. Thank you for remembering 9/11 cause it’s still on the back of our minds. Since today is 9/11, it makes me remember the people I lost in the 9/11 attacks. I’m thankful that the world remembers this patriotic day every year on September 11.

DeAndre Morris

Photo by Nikki Love Keyshia H.

I was working at the V.A. Medical Center with veterans. My thoughts of 9/11 were frightening and I was very afraid. 

Twenty years later, I’m grateful for 9/11 because it allowed us as Americans and as people to wake up and to pay attention to what is not being said. I’m grateful for health care, ’cause that particular day, not only did 9/11 happen to us and for us, it also happened to the V.A. They were threatened and health care workers had to take care of themselves and the veterans.

Keyshia H.