Opinions on attacks' effects differ

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The extent to which Sept. 11, 2001, has affected or changed the lives of Americans is a matter of speculation and difference of opinions. The following people were asked if and how they thought the events of and following Sept. 11 had impacted their own lives and the lives of their fellow Americans. Interviews were conducted Tuesday afternoon at the Kenai Municipal Airport.

Karin Sonnen, a range management specialist for Natural Resources Conservation Services and a Homer resident of six years, said she has felt the same changes that other Americans have.

"As with everybody, my innocence has been lost a little bit. I guess I feel a little bit more safe now, not really because of the security here, but because I think people will take matters into their own hands now. ... You try not to let it impact you too much because then you let them win.

"We're probably a little more protected by (living in Alaska), but it has impacted us all. We all feel the same way as everybody else in America."



James Russell, a contractor and Kenai resident for 29 years, said everyone has been affected by the events of Sept. 11.

"I think more people are more patriotic now," he said, adding that he has a flag out more often.

"At least when the flag comes down the street they might take off their hat, whereas before they didn't even know to take off their hats.

"It has affected our air service. People are less likely to travel now.

"For one thing (if it weren't for Sept. 11), we wouldn't have had our freedoms cut in half," he said, citing airline security as one area where freedoms have been reduced. "It isn't only with this little place here, but all over the U.S."



Ray Collecchi of Washington state, said he thought people have been affected mainly through increased transportation security.

"All transportation has been affected by this. This way I feel safer, (but) it's too bad it had to happen. They can search me, it doesn't bother me at all. I just want to safely get where I'm going."

Freedoms have been reduced and suspicions have been raised as well, Collecchi said.

"When we see an Arab you are kind of suspicious, especially in a town like this. That's why I'm flying out today instead of tomorrow (Sept. 11). Any dark-complexioned people, especially around here, I think people are scared of them. You can see it in their eyes as they walk by."


F. Sturman

Fred Sturman, retired commercial fisher and Soldotna resident for 40 years, said his life had not been impacted by Sept. 11.

"I fly a lot. It's just a bigger hassle, but I don't feel like I'm any safer today than before. It just takes about an extra five to seven hours more of wasted time, and I don't feel any safer."

Sturman said there wasn't any difference to him between the attack on Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11.

"You can live in fear or continue to go on with your life. When your time is here, you're time is here. That's the way I look at it."


C. Sturman

Cathy Sturman, and her daughter, 2-year-old Jaida, were traveling that day. She didn't think her life had changed.

"I'm sad for the people who died. My heart goes out to the families for the losses there.

"They say the economy is really depressed, but I think our economy (in Alaska) isn't affected as much."



Bill Fraser of Bozeman, Mont., said American life had certainly been impacted, but there had been no real impact on his life.

"I don't live in fear.

"I think in flying I feel safer. There's a lot more caution out there than there used to be. (And) I think, as a whole, our country is now more patriotic."

Fraser has two sons who are Navy pilots, so his family was impacted through their involvement.

"I think the way everybody felt toward the military was increased. There is so much more positive feeling toward the military, which I think still exists."

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