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The Scoop
September 12, 2011

Children of 9/11

Hannah Stuart

Yesterday saw the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, which claimed the lives of nearly 3000 civilians. Memorial services were held at the three sites – ground zero, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville where hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crash-landed after brave passengers overwhelmed the hijackers.

Watching the coverage on television was, for me – as I’m sure it was for many others – incredibly moving. Ten years is a long time, but I was shocked by how much I’d forgotten. Not the events themselves of course, but the little details and how I felt that day.

I’d forgotten “Let’s roll” – the final words of Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93 heard on a phone call. I’d also forgotten how it felt to be witnessing a terrorist attack – planes flying into buildings and people jumping to their deaths – and its aftermath live on 24 hour news. Although harrowing, it was refreshing – and important I think – to be reminded of what happened purely as a human tragedy rather than as a political event.

Channel 4’s documentary “Children of 9/11” did just that. Featuring interviews with children ranging from as young as three to teenagers at the time they lost a parent, the programme reminded me how for the relatives of 2,977 people 9/11 will always be personal rather than political. And as I saw how the children’s lives progressed it prompted me to reflect on the ripple effects of terrorism and how there is a whole generation of young people who never really knew a world without believing there are people in it who want to destroy them.

The documentary can be watched here

Hannah Stuart

About Hannah Stuart

Hannah Stuart is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and has authored reports on extremism, terrorism and jihadist ideology as well as religious law and the role of religion in the public sphere. Hannah has a strong research record and her work has informed UK government policy. She gave testimony to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee on radicalisation. She has written analysis for the Wall Street Journal, The Times, Foreign Policy, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, and the Guardian, among others. Hannah has a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy (with Distinction) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol.

Full profile  |  See all of Hannah Stuart's work