‘A little too close to home’

While Shanelle Smith sat in study hall on Sept. 11, 2001, a Middle Eastern classmate started screaming when she saw the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on the television.

Smith, a senior political science major, said the girl had just moved to the United States, hoping to escape the constant war and bombing of the Middle East.

“It was a little too close to home for her,” Smith said. “The reality of the event didn’t really hit me.”

After she saw the girl screaming, Smith said she was shocked.

“I honestly didn’t know what was going on because we’ve never experienced anything like that in our country,” she said.

The other students in her class also felt disconnected from the attacks, especially because they were teenagers, Smith said.

“It seemed so distant because it wasn’t in Ohio – it wasn’t close to home.” she said. “It seemed like something that would happen in another country.”

At first, Smith said the attacks felt like an image she would only see on television. But when she visited Ground Zero a few months after the attacks with her parents, she said she realized the attack’s impact.

Smith said her initial feeling when she saw Ground Zero was that of anger toward the terrorists, but also at America.

“It makes me sad to see our country is hated so much,” Smith said.

– Tim Magaw