High school seniors and recent graduates reflect on Sept. 11

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McCluer North High School/St. Louis, Mo.
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Today's high school seniors grew up in the aftermath of 9/11.

COLUMBIA — Jules Crespy was only 8 years old at the time, but he still vividly remembers how he first heard about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

He was in third grade and on his way to school. He was having a conversation with his father in the car when news about

the attacks came on over the radio.

“It was like a fantasy,” said Crespy, 18, who just graduated from Hickman High School. “I was young and didn’t understand and couldn’t believe what was going on.”

His father wasn’t listening to the news report and didn’t believe Crespy at first. But later, his father heard the news for himself and realized Crespy was right.

Some of today’s high school seniors and those who recently graduated found it hard to comprehend the tragic events of that day 10 years ago. But now that they’re older, they have a better understanding of the significance of what happened that day and how it has affected them.

“I appreciate what the country has done for me and for my freedom,” Crespy said.

Chase Patterson, a high school senior from Metropolis, Ill., remembers his third grade teacher was called out of class on Sept. 11. Another teacher told her about the terrorist attacks.

“She came back in and told us, and we watched the news,” he said.

He learned more about what happened five years later when he wrote a report about 9/11 for an eighth grade history class.

Two years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the U.S. decided to go to war in Iraq as part of the war on terrorism. People have different opinions about the war, but Patterson thought the war was necessary.

“I respect the Army a lot more now than when I did back then,” he said.

Grady Harrington, 18, just graduated from Rock Bridge High School. He first heard about the terrorist attacks 10 years ago from a friend.

“An older friend told me after school what happened,

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but at school nobody really talked about it,” he said. “It didn’t have enough impact on me because as a kid, I didn’t understand.”

As he got older, he watched YouTube videos and documentaries on the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Now I understand what happened and why it was so important,” Harrington said. “It was a moment in time that changed America … As a

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He said he thinks it’s unfair that certain ethnic groups or religions have been blamed for the attacks.

“It’s sad because some of the people involved in the religion or of the same race didn’t have anything to do with what happened,” Harrington said. “I think people just wanted a scapegoat.”

Crespy agrees.

“I think it’s stupid and ignorant when people tried to place blame on one specific race or religion,” he said. “Parents have a lot of influence on the way kids think these days.”

Since the attacks, some people’s perspectives on ethnicity and religion have been greatly affected, but for Crespy, those perspectives haven’t changed at all.

“I think everybody is capable of being evil or doing evil,” he said. “Just because people are of a different race or religion doesn’t mean anything.”