IN FOCUS Discussion: 20th anniversary of 9/11

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the day when 19 militants of Al-Qaeda carried out the deadliest series of coordinated terrorist attacks in world history on the U.S. They hijacked four commercial aircrafts that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a field in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died with an additional 25,000 who were injured. Even to this day, the impacts of that tragic day are still being felt, experienced, and lived to this very day.

The events of that dark day led to a substantial number of first responders suffering and even dying from diseases, such as cancer, associated with exposure to toxic substances at Ground Zero. Furthermore, many surviving firefighters and police officers continue to suffer from mental health issues, such as depression and PTSD. Meanwhile, Muslim Americans experienced a dramatic influx of hateful slurs, behavior, and discrimination following 9/11 from individuals who wrongfully blamed them for the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

Security dramatically ramped up at airports across the country and launched a war that cost the lives of more than 2,400 American soldiers over four presidential administrations. This year, President Biden made the decision to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which subsequently led to the Taliban regaining control of the country and elevating concerns that it will once again become a base for terrorism. On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we are exploring how the events of that grim day impacted Americans from different walks of life.

Jeff Dill, founder and CEO of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to discuss the residual effects faced by first responders who were there at Ground Zero. He talked about the data and statistics of firefighters impacted by the tragic events of 9/11, how cultural brainwashing can play a role in how firefighters and EMS deal with emotional issues, why some decide to take their own lives, why he believes every firefighter should do an “internal size-up” everyday, and how he is reflecting on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Jennie Taylor, widow of Utah National Guard Major and North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor explained how 9/11 shaped her family’s life, how they’re doing now three years after losing Brent, how she wants the public to remember her husband, her thoughts when President Biden announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from Afghanistan, and the WEber Remembers: the 9/11 Project her foundation and partners are hosting this weekend.

Satin Tashnizi and Nora Abu-Dan, co-founders of the Emerald Project shared what they were doing when 9/11 happened, their feelings when they saw the footage of the Twin Towers falling, when things changed for their family, what the word “terrorist” meant to them before and after 9/11, what they think the solution to terrorism is, how 9/11 shaped their identity, and what they think the consequences of 9/11 are that people don’t usually talk about.

The WEber Remembers: the 9/11 Project will continue for its third and final day on Saturday, September 11th. The schedule will begin with the Sunrise Fire Memorial Ceremony at 6:46 a.m. at the Roy Fire Station No. 31, Riverdale Fire Station No. 41, and Weber Fire Station No. 61 in Farr West. A firefighter memorial ceremony will take place at 12 p.m. at America’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial Park next to the Ogden Amphitheater. The free public exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Weber County Fairgrounds.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Dill, Taylor, Tashnizi, and Abu-Dan, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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