Growing up under 9/11: They’ll never be the same - WNEM TV 5

Growing up under 9/11: They’ll never be the same

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(Source: FEMA) (Source: FEMA)
(Source: FEMA) (Source: FEMA)

NEW YORK (RNN) - Laura McGarry will never forget standing in Cliffside, NJ, on 9/11 and looking across the Hudson River at the smoke rising from the spot where the World Trade Center towers had stood just hours earlier.

The then-eighth grader's sheltered world at that moment became acquainted for the first time with "al-Qaeda" and "Osama bin Laden," strange and exotic names that now are as commonplace as a grocery list.

The hyper-vigilance and fear in the wake of 9/11 has slowly subsided from everyday life, at times intentionally. In April, for example, the Department of Homeland Security phased out its color-coded terrorism threat scale.

But for those who were children on 9/11, like Philip and Jeremy MacKechnie, the fear of another attack will never subside. The schoolchildren in the Greater New York area on 9/11 carry in their hearts still the intense feelings of fear, anxiety and loss they felt on that day.

Because of their ages at the time, those feelings often dominate their recollections of the events.

"The sense is that this could happen again, when before, I don't think people ever thought something like this would happen," MacKechnie said.

With time and maturity, these children - now young adults - have finally been able to put the pieces together, and are just now able to understand how their innocence was stripped from them by a band of terrorists.

"At the time, there really wasn't a full appreciation for the traumatic nature of these events on our psyches, particularly for children and those closest to the events," said Phillip, who is now working toward his PhD in psychology.

[Click here to read the first of five testimonials from the children of 9/11.]

 [Click here to read the first of five testimonials from the children of 9/11.]

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