People in West Michigan remember how 9/11 changed their lives

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — No matter who you are or where you live, the events on Sept. 11, 2001, made an impact on your life today.

News 8 asked people in West Michigan how 9/11 changed their life.

“We just had to take life more seriously,” said Monica Laster, who is now in her 30’s. 

Whether you were in school.

“Everybody was scared, crying,” said Laster.

At work.

“Everyone was still, everyone was focused, everyone was just in shock,” said Jeff Burtt. 

In your house.

“All of us saw that happening on TV,” said Lorie Jonkman, who was at home with her three young kids.  

Or not even a thought.

“I know that when the bad people drive the planes into the tower it killed many people and everyone came to try to help,” said 7-year-old Diana.

No matter where you were when it happened, 9/11 impacted the way we all live today. For some, their whole lives changed; for others, the biggest impact was on their outlook, saying they now appreciating things they once took for granted.

“When you are in that moment, enjoy it when you can,” said Annette Burtt. 

“I appreciate every first responder,” chimed in her husband Jeff Burtt. “To think that they gave up their life, running towards that.”

“We became more aware of the violence in the world,” said Jonkman. “I mean we live in America here and we have never had a war on our shores. And that happened here so then it made us more aware that goes on everywhere in the world, so empathy for people who live with that from day to day.”

When something this big happens it puts the little things in perspective.

“A lot of really good people lost their lives that day. The little inconveniences like going through an airport now or whatever, it’s nothing,” said Jeff Burtt. “If they could have somehow stopped all that. Could you have imagined?”

Twenty years later, we mourn the lives lost but celebrate our country’s resilience. People across the states, united unlike any other time before.

“People really did show their good side,” said Jonkman. “We have just seen something horrific and seen something so bad and then we saw something very good.”

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