September 20, 2001 – The Age of Anxiety. Fifteen years ago and not that many days since the fateful events had unfolded in New York. But in those few short days, a dramatic change took over our society and our country as a whole. We became swept up in the Age of Anxiety. Fear was permeating everything we did, heard and saw. We were told to become vigilant, we were now pointing fingers, we were now fearful it was going to happen again. We felt vulnerable and we no longer felt immune to terrorism, and this was something new which we never thought would happen to us.
The fears were legitimate but the fears were also played on. In the middle of our shock and grief came the waves of paranoia, the mistrust, the anger and the desire to lash out – hit back – seek revenge. We were looking for the perpetrators.
And in the midst of news that the numbers of dead may have risen as high as 6,000, and while crews were still sifting through debris, new measures were put in place, new calls for revenge and new fears that the next one could be an Atomic Bomb became foremost in our thoughts. Security measures were tightened to the extreme. President Bush gave an address to a joint session of Congress and vice-President Cheney was said to be watching the proceedings from “an undisclosed location” and that the Air Force was patrolling the skies above Capitol Hill. Extraordinary measures were taking place and it was looking like we were going to be going to war soon – but with whom, it wasn’t clear. We were now dealing with an enemy that wasn’t actually in one place but several places. An enemy who wasn’t affiliated with one country but several countries. An enemy who represented an ideology and not a nation. An enemy we only knew by the names Taliban and Al-Quaeda. Days of anxiety and glimpses of our future, for sure.
Here is a slice of news from that September 20,2001 via CBS Radio, along with The World News Roundup Late Edition and NPR’s Special Coverage of President Bush’s address to the joint session of Congress.