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How 9/11 changed Chicagoans’ lives

We asked readers how Sept. 11, 2001, changed them. They spoke of feeling more fear but also of coming together. Of facing more security and more bias. Of jobs lost. Of needing to face up to the worst.

The Statue of Liberty stands as seen on Sept. 15, 2001, in front of a smoldering lower Manhattan at dawn as seen from Jersey City, N.J.
The Statue of Liberty stands as seen on Sept. 15, 2001, in front of a smoldering lower Manhattan at dawn as seen from Jersey City, N.J.
Dan Loh / AP

We asked Chicagoans: How did Sept. 11, 2001 change your life?

These were among the responses. Some have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“Increased respect and admiration for firefighters and first-responders!” — Nathaniel Thomas Jr.

“I’m a Muslim educator/speaker. The easier question is: How didn’t it change my life?” — Omer M. Mozaffar

“No longer could we freely enter buildings without an ID. Security at airports tightened — having to go through X-ray and taking shoes off. Made me aware of terrorism, which never seemed real to me. But those in the towers, on the planes — they lost their lives. I will never forget.” — Susan Harris Fiege

“My love for humanity and being an American grew exponentially. Watching us all come together as a nation to support each other taught me that we can overcome anything thrown our way instead of dividing over race, color, creed, religion, etc.” — Robin Pressley

“Made me care about my country more.” — Laurence Stom

“It added an extra layer of fear.” — Jackie Flinchum

“It put me out of a much-loved job as a result of my airline filing bankruptcy. However, it opened my eyes to what else was out there, and I discovered I had other skills.” — Sandy Gulliver

“I saw the WTC flames and smoke from the corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn. I was driving my daughter — who was two days shy of her first birthday — to her first day at a play group. How did this change my life? I realized that you cannot just rush through life. You need to look at things and absorb them, even if they are extremely frightening.” — Ellen Levitt