The borderland changed forever after 9/11

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EL PASO— The tragic attack on America  that happened thousands of miles away 10 years ago rippled through the border region, tightening up security at the checkpoints that divide Ciudad Juárez, México from El Paso, Texas.

Students, professors, and faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) gathered at a ceremony remembering and reflecting on the event on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. UTEP student Karina Lopez, who crosses the border often said that ever since that awful day the border checkpoints have been a hassle.

“Traveling across the border became irrationally long. Security became so high and people became paranoid about crossing the border, when before it only took 15 minutes, now it takes up to three hours.”

Members of the UTEP community greet UTEP Police officers to thank them for their services as custodials of the community's security. (Jesus Sanchez/Borderzine.com)

Members of the UTEP community greet UTEP Police officers to thank them for their services as custodials of the community's security. (Jesus Sanchez/Borderzine.com)

Lopez says that in a sense, El Paso has changed since the 9/11 attacks. “I think people in El Paso after 9/11 had become more cautious, businesses slowed down, and there was an increase in patriotism and family unity. Tragedy and uncertainty got people closer and little by little people got back to their normal lives making adjustments. Some people reduced their traveling to Juárez, but somehow they had hope things would be better.”

The ceremony on a university campus remembering an unforgettable date in history gives younger generations a closer understanding of what happened that day, said Ezra Cappell, associate professor of English at UTEP.

“To realize that so many have grown up really in the shadow of 9/11, many of our incoming freshman were eight, nine, 10-years-old when the attacks occurred,” Cappell said.

Gary Edens, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs at UTEP also said it was important to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a ceremony on the UTEP campus. “I think it’s so important to do this, not only in our community here at UTEP, but across the nation as we remember 9/11 and the many lives that were lost on that day,” he said.

Corey Bailey, Director of Student Development Center here at UTEP noted that the people who lost their lives on that day represented many different nationalities.

“Of the 2,997 who died more than 90 countries were represented. Besides the United States, four countries had at least 20 people pass. United Kingdom had 64, India had 41 people, South Korea had 28, Canada had 24. In addition to that there were 16 Mexican nationals who also passed that day.”

Even though 10 years have passed and that time period might make it the distant past to younger persons, Cappell says there are lessons that they can learn from that disaster.

“ Well there is a tremendous amount that we can still learn from it. There are a lot of lessons that we need to learn, among those are the lessons of tolerance, and of understanding about differences… obviously acts of terrorism are acts of hatred…there is a lot of work to be done.”

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