Many can remember exactly where they were 20 years ago when al-Qaida perpetrated the deadliest terrorist attack in human history by deliberately crashing passenger jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Yet few truly contemplate how the atrocity of 9/11 profoundly changed and shaped everyday life today.
Now him Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London is to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the four coordinated attacks on September 11, 2001, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives, with a series of events bringing this crucial moment in history to the fore in an attempt to fully understand the consequences.
It will be the first time the museum has looked at 9/11 in detail, and Louise Skidmore, its head of contemporary conflict, said: “And the reason we chose to celebrate the 9/11 anniversary is because it is an event that really took place. a global impact. Beyond the geopolitical, it encompassed many aspects of our social, economic and cultural life.
“They all remember where they were. It was such a seismic event. But thousands and thousands of our audience were not alive and will not remember 9/11. And then they can, to some extent, look back and say, ‘What does it really have to do with my life? Was it a big problem? It was a big problem. “
Through a series of events, the museum aims to examine the radical way it has changed lives around the world.
The military aspects were the most immediate, from the historic invocation of NATO’s article 5 of collective defense – an attack on one is an attack on all – for the first time, to the invasion of Afghanistan, the global war on terrorism and the establishment of conditions. for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
“It radically changed foreign and defense policies around the world,” Skidmore said.
“But also both on the domestic front, such as anti-terrorism legislation, increased surveillance, changes in attitudes towards civil liberties, air travel. All of those things are the result of the events of September 11, to some extent.
“Additionally, there is the fundamental impact it had on changing attitudes towards immigration, an increase in anti-Muslim discrimination.
“And, with the focus on defense and security, there is no focus on other things, maybe, whether it’s climate change, economic inequality, structural racism. All of those things that we’ve seen come up in the last year, a lot of them were put aside because we were so focused on defense and security after 9/11. “
The anniversary program will showcase part of the IWM collection, including the twin tower beams, artwork reflecting the war on terror and a union flag rescued from Ground Zero, the site of the attack, and delivered to the UK.
Through a series of physical and online events, and in collaboration with other organizations around the world, the museum plans to promote dialogue and delve into the personal accounts of affected individuals, including those involved in subsequent military operations against IS. .
“We really hope we can make it as global and participatory as possible through the idea of where you were and how it has shaped your life, starting with the personal and how the personal becomes global. That’s really the best way to show that this really has a global impact. “
The program of events, still in the planning phase, will be launched around the 20th anniversary.
“I think a lot of people don’t fully understand the repercussions of 9/11,” Skidmore said. “It is important to understand how we got to where we are now.”
Al-Qaida’s four coordinated attacks on the United States resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths and more than 25,000 injuries and long-term health consequences.
American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the two World Trade Center towers, causing their collapse, while American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers took the flight. kidnappers.
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