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9/11: Does America really remember?

Kimberley  Lau is a student in the University of Sydney's Masters Degree in Publishing. Along with her classmates, she is participating in the Webdiary community as a component of the final semester of the course. This is Kimberly's first piece for Webdiary.

9/11: Does America really remember?

by Kimberley Lau
Daily activities in New York came to a screeching halt as Americans, and those who lost loved ones on Sept 11, paused to remember the day Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked airliners and crashed them into the towers of the World Trade Centre.

At the New York Stock Exchange, traders bowed their heads in silence while at Ground Zero, names of the 2,974 citizens who died seven years ago were read. Even presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama put their politicking aside to pay respects to the victims.

A solemn day for most, however, terrorist attacks are no longer the nightmare that plague Americans' dreams, and are no more than a page in their history books and an annual mourning ceremony.

According to US-based pollsters Gallup, terrorism is not something that a majority of Americans worry about anymore.

A poll conducted with 1,022 adults in the country showed that only 38% of those interviewed were very or somewhat worried they will be affected by a terrorist attack.

“This is down from 47% last July, and from a high of 59% in October 2001, but is still short of a post-9/11 low of 28% in January 2004,” Gallup stated on its website.

Terrorism also does not appear to be a major factor when it comes to who they vote for as president in the upcoming elections. Only 12% of Americans consider it an important factor when casting their vote.

When quizzed on what they thought was the most important problem in the country in a separate survey, only 2% mentioned terrorism – down from 46% in October 2001, a month after the incident happened.

They felt that the most pressing issue was the dwindling economy, as many of them have been affected by rising gas prices.

More than 50% of those polled said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who would be able to handle the economy, as opposed to one who could protect them from terrorism.

With terrorism seemingly no longer on their radars and economy a priority, one has to wonder if the candidates’ campaign pitch on terrorism is still valid.

McCain, in this instance, would appear to have more to lose as 52% of Americans polled believe he will be able to tackle terrorism more efficiently than Obama, who is ahead of him in all the other policies including economy, healthcare, energy and taxes.

Has McCain wasted his time preaching to a choir that no longer cares?


Majority of Americans Not Fearful of Terrorist Attack

Americans Prioritize the Economy Over Terrorism

Obama Has Edge on Key Election Issues

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'Scuse me!

Ian, why don't you let Kacie make up h(is)er own mind about how to answer Marilyn's points?

You are excused, Paul

Paul Walter: "Ian, why don't you let Kacie make up h(is)er own mind about how to answer Marilyn's points?"


Treating "points" with the contempt they deserve

The point surely is that Kacie does not have to make up her mind how to answer Marilyn Shepherd's "points". The point is that Kacie is free to choose to ignore Marilyn Shepherd's "points" entirely. In fact she can choose to ignore Marilyn Shepherd entirely.

Apologies, Kacie Bluhm

I realise that my comment could be regarded by a US citizen as insulting, whereas it was meant as droll. Please take it lightly.

colonists and rebels

Malcolm B Duncan, you may have enjoyed the Oxford debate that Clarissa Dickson Wright took part in, where the topic was along the lines of "that the Plymouth Rock should have landed on the Pilgrim fathers, rather than vice versa."  Worded far more pithily than that, of course.

Welcome Kacie

G'day Kacie. I am an open critic of the Bush administration and the methods used in the US to elect their President. Because of events going back to the Spanish/American conflict, the wealth produced by war has demanded a subservient president for the Military/Corporate to continue to control the economy.

I believe that the years of great statesperson presidents has been transformed by the greed of the Military/Corporate and that while terrorism has been around since the beginning of recorded history, 9/11 was a gift excuse for world sympathy and pre-emptive invasions.

I will not believe, Kacie, that the rules of "democracy" are solely the possession of the US. In fact, I believe that the foreign policies of the Bush administration, along with our Howard "New Order", have degraded that terminology forever more.

Hitler was famously paraphrased by the suggestion that the peace he wanted was really "a piece of Poland, France, England, Holland..etc.".

Are the policies of the US Republicans and the Australian Howardists that much different?

Cheers and welcome, Ern G.


At least you've offended a Rebel Colonist.

Well done. 

Nasty people - don't like tea. 

Apologies *facepalm ensues*

Malcolm, allow me to apologise for that poorly written sentence. May I rewrite here: they hijacked four, crashed two into the towers of the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon and the fourth plane, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could hit its intended target.

I, too, am rather sceptical of the poll numbers (how can a survey conducted with merely 1,000 or so interviewees be representative of 305 million Americans), hence the flagrant use of the words ‘seems’ and ‘appears’.

Kacie, thanks for painting that clear and compelling picture of the thought processes of an American.

I do apologise if my article has not made my intentions clear. My conclusion was not that Americans have indeed forgotten, but rather that Gallup, a poll that is used by the likes of the New York Times and obviously has much influence, has implied so.

A quick cut and paste from their survey entitled ‘Majority of Americans not fearful of terrorist attack”:

... Although a new report concludes that the next U.S. president will have much work to do on the counterterrorism front, up to now, Americans have not been making the terrorism issue a top priority in the ongoing presidential campaign. A majority say that a president's being able to handle the economy is more important to their vote than his ability to handle terrorism.”

In the finest traditions of the tabloids

First, well done Kimberley Lau for being the first to broach the breach.

Now, to tors.

Four planes struck the twin towers? While I admit the second strike was a damned good piece of flying, I haven't actually seen or read a report that identifies the planes on the grassy knoll. Proven Al-quada activity? While more likely than not, proven?

Paragraph 3 I suspect underestimates the psychopathology of the Rebel Colonists: they tend to remember everything including the least slight to their "national" pride: Vietnam for example.

Beware polls and falling into the habit journalists have of reporting them uncritically.

Does one preach to a choir, and, if so, does one preach solely to the choir and not the congregation? Who constitutes the choir in a system that has non-compulsory voting?

A warm welcome to Webdiary.

Me too, Malcolm


It is a welcome thread and I feel that there will be many observations.

My personal attitude is that at the very least the Bush regime knew of the impending disaster and did nothing or, they were themselves involved.

Reported facts include: the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service and several other so-called intelligence agencies knew of various parts of the jig-saw but didn't put them together.  This is one of the basic problems with a nation raised on distrust and paranoia with a guilt complex to the "Flag".

They are in competition for funds at all times - what a waste of talent.

There were in fact warnings of such an attack without "specific" targets (sounds like Downer's excuse).  I have several DVD's regarding that tragedy and it would be a mistake of common sense and reason not to be suspicious.

Kimberley may have the courage to mention several other facts that may offend our forum.

Open discussion and/or debate, without sarcasm or petulance would always be a pleasure and particular at this time and on this subject.

Well done Kimberley.

Cheers Ern G.

America will never forget

America absolutely remembers what happened seven years ago in New York and Washington DC. It is something impossible to forget.

 It's not that Americans no longer care about terrorism. 9/11 was a devastation that many are still reeling from.  It's that in the past seven years George W has used the term "terror" as a ploy to forward his own political agenda. Because of this, Americans are now more concerned with correcting his mistakes that have hindered our everyday lives. We have an economy driven into the ground by a trillion dollar  "War on Terror", a growing dependency on foreign oil sending the cost of energy through the roof, and millions of people with no health insurance.

So, no, most Americans don't cower in fear of an attack. We experienced a great tragedy, have grieved and some still grieve, but are looking to return to our normal lives. This means having a job, the potential for a good education, and protection if we get sick. These are the issues that affect our everyday lives. 

The conclusion that placing these issues as a higher priority than terrorism is equivalent to "not remembering" or "no longer caring" about our nation's greatest tragedy is poorly drawn and highly offensive.

Fiona: Welcome to Webdiary, Kacie. We look forward to more contributions from you.

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