This is a day of remembrance.
And University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen says colleges must now teach the history of 9-11, because most students didn’t live through the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.
They never knew the world before September 11th, 2001.
“Most of us all know the world before and about how dramatic that day was that changed the way we think about other people, the way that we travel. You know, when you go to New York, you’re just struck by the enormity of the events,” Kristensen tells Sunrise 60 Close-up on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KHAS. “But, you’ll never forget.”
Nearly 3,000 people died on September 11th of 2001 when nearly 20 members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes. Two of those commercial jets, full of fuel, crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, exploding on impact, causing the greatest loss of life that day and causing the two towers to collapse after infernos engulfed them.
Another plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth plane crashed in a farm field in western Pennsylvania near Shanksville after passengers rushed the terrorists onboard, overcame them, and took the plane down.
Kristensen says faculty now teach 9/11 as history, because most of their students either didn’t live through it or are too young to remember it or weren’t even born yet.
“I think for the faculty members today, it is one of those days that you do stop and pause and reflect,” Kristensen says. “I assume that’s what happened to my parents in the 1950s after Pearl Harbor; the same sort of reflection. Our lives will never be the same.”
Kristensen remembers the day well. He also remembers flying a few days after airports, which had been shut down in wake of the attacks, re-opened.
“I flew through Denver,” Kristensen says. “The National Guard and the Army were in the airport with M16 rifles and it was as quiet inside that terminal, still had thousands and thousands of people, but it was as quiet inside that terminal as it would have been in any church.”
Kaleb Henry with Platte River Radio contributed to this story.