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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Is life getting back to normal?
World leaders have been appealing to their citizens to get back to normal after the traumatic events of 11 September.

President Bush has encouraged people to continue flying. Flight cancellations are having a devastating effect on the airline industry in America and other parts of the world.

Mr Bush's message was echoed by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who urged the British people "to work, to live, to travel, to shop" as before.

Consumer confidence has been shaken by the attacks and experts are warning that this could tip the world into recession.

Is your life back to normal? How do you feel about travelling and shopping? Has your outlook on life changes as a result of the terrorist attacks?

Click here to read your comments on ID cards.

This debate is closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

The sooner things do get "back to normal" the better, otherwise the terrorists have won. I work in an industry highly dependent on tourists visiting the UK, especially from the USA. Until Americans and the rest of us start travelling again as we did before then we are being held to ransom by the terrorists and they are winning - The only way to overcome these evil people is to get on with our everyday life.
Peter, UK

All terror attacks should be perceived in the same way

Mike Thompson, UK
I send out my deepest sympathy to all those who were directly affected by the events of Sept 11 2001. However I feel that it wrong of people to class the importance of a terrorist strike on the "collateral damage" it caused. (As at least one contributor to this page has done). Whether you had family or friends in the WTC, the British forces in Ireland, Lockerbie, Eniskillen, Palestine, the list is seemingly endless. Those people who lose loved ones to acts of terror will no doubt be devastated in a way that we cannot imagine. It is callous and jingoistic to infer that "My terrorist attack is more valid than yours". The truth is that all terror attacks should be perceived in the same way. Small or large they should not be tolerated. Death is death, you can't have a sliding scale to act on.

All I hope is that this time organised terrorism has become a victim of it's own success, and that the co-operation we now see between many countries is not just a flash in the pan but a step towards global government and peace. As for as the comments of Mr Bush and Mr Blair, Let us not forget that world economists were predicting a global recession well before these events took place. Thus it would seem that political cynicism has reared its head before the wreckage has stopped smouldering.
Mike Thompson, UK

Of course it's not getting back to normal. It will never be normal again. We have all witnessed one of those defining moments in history, the assassination of JFK, the falling of the Berlin wall, the Challenger disaster and now the WTC disaster. Normal? was life ever completely normal after any of those events or the countless others I have failed to mention?

No, life is far from normal. The spectre of a Chem/Bio attack, planes deliberately crashing from the skies, a small atomic weapon in a car boot? All of these things are increasingly likely now the terrorists have "taken the gloves off" so to speak and removed the moral controls to mass murder on a truly "mass" scale.
Jason, UK

I don't ever want to go back to "normal" if it means our government underestimating the will of people who will gladly die to kill our innocent civilians. On another note, I have to say thank you UK and other allies around the world. Your words, thoughts and prayers mean so much to all of us. God Bless you
Wendy Garrison, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

We need to be asking ourselves what are we doing to ourselves. What can be expected when one views the output of violent movies, the killing portrayed in video games we give children, and all the arms sold to the Middle East by the nations of the world involved in trying to stay in control. We can get back to normal when we - mankind - stop making violence an economic issue and a way of survival and entertainment.
Jeff Booth, living in Japan, but American

We are currently in a very uncomfortable limbo

Owen, England
It's hard to say things are even close to normal. I, and many others, will find it hard to look to the future with hope until we can be sure that the people who were capable of this massacre are no longer capable of further murders. We are currently in a very uncomfortable limbo, after the talk of war but before the act of it. I desperately want the free world to get back to normal, but the terrorist threat and the instability in the Middle East make it seem like a dream.
Owen, England

If we are not careful it is possible that we will return to "normal" all too soon. If we hear nothing from the terrorists for the next few years we'll all have to get our maps out to see where the world outside of America is once again.
Johanna, USA

This is for David Kelly of the UK. I don't believe your humanitarian posturings for a moment. You're the type who cries about starving children in Africa while ignoring the reasons why they starve. They starve because people like you encourage "socialistic" solutions, i.e, class warfare, and the raising of guilt and envy to the status of "morality". You really have no clue as to how civilisation is created and maintained. Your "guilt-mongering" is quite pathetic.
Robert Farrell, USA

Let's remember that two of the planes slammed into the WORLD Trade Center, and not the AMERICAN Trade Center. I am tired of hearing people say that Americans were the only targets of these terrorist attacks. Furthermore, saying that Americans only care about American lives is a fallacy. If we didn't care about others, then how would one explain the fact that we (the United States) are the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan (even before September 11, 2001)? Think before you type David Kelly.
Travis, San Francisco, CA, USA

I think we are forcing ourselves to be back to normal. Quite frankly, "God Bless America" is a little condescending to me at this time. I woke up to the truth that what happened here is happening all over the world, only we were oblivious to suffering of the world. It makes me sad that we saw first hand, the carnage in Manhattan and we are not blinking an eye when we have to repeat it on other innocent people. God bless humanity.
Sam Malone, USA

I don't understand some of the USA bashing on this board. I hear comments like the US never does anything unless it gains from it somehow. Huh? We spend over $20 billion a year in foreign aid and relief. That's more than most of the GNP of many nations in the world. Perhaps if American withdrew all aid and all support and totally isolated ourselves people would really have something to complain about. Regarding the claims that the US has only been getting what others have as far as terrorism is concerned I ask you when was the last time a terrorist act killed 6000 citizens and involved the destruction of major landmarks? There are blocks and blocks of total destruction in downtown NY. It looks like an A-Bomb hit. This was just not some car bomb or petty act of terrorism this was an act of war.
Mike, USA

Normal? Never! I live in Lower Manhattan and work in the Empire State Building (evacuated twice by bomb threats). The tragedy of this event is that it hits home on every level. I wish people outside of this area could have seen the "missing" posters plastered all over the bus shelters and in Union Square. They would have seen the images of black, white, yellow, and brown people, Hindis, Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. Once you see that you realize the enormity of the event.

Riots in Northern Ireland, Israelis and Palestinians killing each other - yep I would say life is getting pretty much back to normal.
Mick, UK

Just like anyone other Brit, this tragedy to hit the U.S has affected me, as well as the Americans. No one would have believed that such attacks could be carried out like this, on America of all countries - the 11th of September 2001 changed all our lives around the world. The twin towers might have gone, but with total respect, we have to put it behind us and get back to our normal lives - this is one tragedy to affect me in my life and for years to come it will remain in the back of my head, as will it remain in the back of millions of others heads. My thoughts are with the Americans at present.
Ryan, UK

It will be done with a look over the shoulder

Yaakov Sullivan, New York, NY, USA
We here in New York will continue flying if we need to and shopping if we are in need of something but it will be done with a look over the shoulder at any sound or sight that might strike us as being out of the ordinary. We can never go back to being "normal" because the rules we assumed were "normal " are no longer the rules. A fanatic perversion of religion that is opposed to every aspect of a pluralistic society has been let loose on the world and we are only now beginning to comprehend how utterly destructive it can be.
Yaakov Sullivan, New York, NY, USA

Please tell us how one gets encouraged to fly when the President, on the same day, delegated powers to two top Air Force officials to bring down any delinquent civilian aircraft?
Kadavul, USA

My life is getting back to relative normal. I spent the first 3 weeks grieving and was very emotional and quite distracted. Now, I am doing what I was before with a real sensitivity to what is going on and our vulnerability. I am grateful for my freedom and country and aware that it all could be taken away in a quick second.
Joe Copp, USA

I live in Chicago and can say without doubt life will never be anything close to normal. I fear our country will become similar to Israel with bombings in any crowded areas, truck and car attacks etc. I keep a close eye on trucks near strategic targets downtown, I am aware of everyone boarding a train and will not sit near train doors lest a suicide bomber boards and detonates themselves and others. Crowded areas are out of the question.
EBedgood, USA

I visited Niagara Falls last week and I have never seen it so empty of tourists since I moved here over 30 years ago. The same for the CN tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the world. No line-ups and empty restaurants. The staff said it had been quiet since September 11th. I am not keen to travel at the moment in case I get stuck in a foreign country should there be more attacks or retaliation.
Barbara, Canada

The events of September 11th should make us all realise that life is precious

Julie, UK
Surely the events of September 11th should make us all realise that life is precious and that we should make the most of every second. If we all go around worried about what the next attack will be then the terrorists have won. I have flown to Canada in the past week and found flying no more scary or worrying than before - if anything surely it is safer now. The memory of the events at the WTC and the Pentagon will stay with us all and I will always be saddened by it, but in the UK we have lived with the threat of terrorism for years and it is possible to carry on a "normal" life in spite of these horrors.
Julie, UK

For those directly affected or bereaved by the tragedy, there may never be a "normal" again. For the rest of us, the most we can do is indeed carry on as normal, while helping to be as vigilant as possible where appropriate.
John Park, UK

If "normal" is where we were before September 11, then I hope we never go back there. From a worldview, our normal was very abnormal. We gave value to that which is fast, cheap and easy. We considered it a crime to be inconvenienced and a sin to be uncomfortable. We had a voracious appetite for food, fuel and entertainment. On September 11, we became part of the real world. Our leaders tell us now that we must get back to normal, or the terrorists will have been victorious. I believe that every painful event in our lives is full of lessons. If this event changes us as individuals and as a nation then all the better. We have already discovered that when we re-examine our values, re-arrange our priorities and re-assess our responsibilities, we have tremendous power. If we can channel that power to our communities, our country and our planet then we will have turned this horrific event into a victory for humanity.
Kathryn Prime, USA

It makes you realise that material things are not important

Becky Smith, UK
I totally agree with Kathryn Prime - September 11th was a wake up call. It makes you realise that material things are not important, and what a lot of evil there is out there. I've started going to church again - it's scary that some people think they will get into "heaven" if they commit murder in the name of religion. The only thing we can do to protect ourselves is to pray. I'm scared every day on the tube, waiting for the next madman. What do the terrorists want to achieve - make the whole world an Islamic state? I believe that everyone should be free to follow their own religion, as long as it doesn't hurt others.
Becky Smith, UK

"We feel violated and our innocence gone forever" says a New York resident ... my response echoes many who live in the UK: welcome to the real world, in London we live with interruptions to our routines on a daily basis (security alerts/suspicious packages etc). I want to know if the war on terrorism and those that raise funds for terrorists applies to some US citizens financial 'support' for the IRA and their attacks on the UK mainland? I hope these people now realise the terror their misguided loyalty wreaks on others.
Cate, UK

I would echo the comments made by Cate. My heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones on September 11th, however I hope that those US citizens who have been funding IRA terrorism will now take note. There is no difference between the WTC and Omagh high street. Does this war on terrorists and their funding extend to US citizens?
Terry, UK

The Mayor of New York has said get back to normal; go to work, enjoy your life, nurture your relationships etc. What a wise man. If there is anything "normal" people can do to respect those who have died and are suffering loss it is to take his advice and not let the evildoers have their way.
AJF, Singapore

Will the world get back to normal? Hopefully not now the US been shocked out of its complacency and realises that terrorism can strike anywhere - even at home. I welcome moves towards establishing an international coalition to fight terrorism - provided this covers terrorists everywhere and not just in the Muslim world.
Maura, UK

Teach them, educate, preach; tell them why and where they are wrong.

Pradeep Nair, India
Life is limping back to normal. But life is never going to be the same after the terror attacks of that terrible black Tuesday. People live and move about in fear of yet another such terror strike, whether its real or not is quite another matter, but its there, constant fear and suspicion.

People even here in India say anything can happen anytime and anywhere. Nothing and no one is safe anymore. Terrorists lurk the shadows of tall buildings, airports, railway stations, trains and other crowded places and cities, in spite of high emergency security, waiting for an opportunity to strike and kill.

The worst part is the blunder that the world is making in trying to counter violence with violence. Let me tell them, if they plan to rid the world of terrorists for one year, bomb them. If for ten years, bomb them and starve them to death by imposing sanctions. If forever, make them understand, wean them and their sympathisers away from their insane ideology, teach them, educate, preach, tell them why and where they are wrong. Convince them that this planet is big and resourceful enough to accommodate all who wish to live in peace and harmony.
Pradeep Nair, India

I think the media are "hyping" us in to a recession and business is using this terrible incident to cut staff, I have not heard any offers to cut share dividends for a quarter to help out. Personally I'm now thinking of leaving the UK and moving as far from this region as I can. All of this crazy talk of war is insane; a war on terrorism is fine, not all out war with another country. And how are we waging the war here in the UK against the IRA to set an example for others?
Scott, UK

Blessed are the peacemakers.
Mark Borda, London, UK

War on terrorism? The UK government is allowing people into the country under its lax asylum laws who have proven links to Bin Laden and similar groups. They then operate their organisations and fund-raising etc. from here and openly admit the atrocities of September 11 are acceptable! The laws of this country, as any other, are to be obeyed by everyone, regardless of religion. We need to look at some of our own policies as, due to our current liberalism, we seem to be offering a very safe haven for these terrorists to work from...
Dan Jeffery, UK

I hope that the World Trade Centre event will open the eyes of Americans to the imbalance in the world. 6,000 people may have died from this tragedy yet more children die of hunger in Africa every day. The real tragedy is that this goes unnoticed because as far as Americans are concerned, only American lives are important.
David Kelly, UK

If we grind to a halt and collapse into a huge global recession then the terrorists are more than half way to winning the 'war'.

Andy, UK
It is vitally important that we return to 'normal' as soon as we can. This will no doubt be particularly difficult for Americans especially New Yorkers; the reminder of the nightmare of the 11th almost always within their day-to-day field of vision. In many respects the world will never be the way it was. New security measures may infringe upon our liberties, but we MUST continue in as normal a manner as we can under the circumstances.

I would echo the UK

prime minister and US president's advice to shop and travel as before. If we grind to a halt and collapse into a huge global recession then the terrorists are more than half way to winning the 'war'. Military action could be a long and drawn out affair, with heavy loss. Lets not add to the potential misery by allowing our economy to collapse too.

Some people fail to realise the importance of having a strong economy. They are out of touch with reality! I would like to add, however, that despite all the talk of consumer confidence waning, in the media, I don't actually know anyone who is doing anything differently in terms of how they spend, save etc.! So, I guess some of are just getting on with it. After all, what choice do we realistically have?
Andy, UK

It's interesting that most Americans on this page don't think things are returning to normal, but most British do. Americans aren't used to terrorism on their own soil, and adopted the attitude that "it'll never happen here" but we tend to realise that it is as likely to happen here as anywhere else so are possibly more accepting of it. AS far as I'm concerned, living in London means I'm already in danger of a terrorist attack from organisations like the Real IRA, so to be honest I see al-Queda as just another one of those - if they hit, they hit, and there's not a lot I can do about it.
Keith Legg, UK

Back to normal? Don't be silly! The media want to prolong this rhetorical war for as long as possible - and the beauty of something as nebulous as a 'War on Terrorism' is that it can go on forever, without the need for any kind of military action; a perpetual war, which the people are conditioned to support without question. Orwell would be proud!
Colin, England

Our windows are still covered with dust and debris. Paper documents from the WTC cover our balconies and yard areas, and the smell is unavoidable.

C.Catto, NY, USA
We live two block's from the area known as 'Ground Zero' on John St. We have only just returned to our building having been evacuated the afternoon of Sept 11. It is hard for residents that live so close to the disaster site as there are constant reminders of the terrible tragedy, the enormous sadness of the lives lost.

Our windows are still covered with dust and debris. Paper documents from the WTC cover our balconies and yard areas, and the smell is unavoidable. Everything about our everyday lives has changed in our community. There are many families who live in this area with young children; I have not felt it safe enough to take our son outside, as the air quality is very debatable. Businesses have started to reopen though many were lost as they were below the WTC. The only traffic now is the stream of tourists taking pictures. I believe that it will take a very long time for this once magnificent area to heal.
C.Catto, NY, USA

This is normal; the intifada in Israel; car bombs in Europe; shootings in Africa. Unfortunately this is how the world is. Sadly for the USA it's 'welcome to the real world'.
Craig Harry, England

In the same speech, President Bush encouraged people to fly without fear. Then he informed us that mid-level generals had the authority to order the shooting down of commercial aircrafts if he/she felt there might to be terrorists on board. Are we stupid? Is he stupid? That does not give me the courage to fly even though I had never been afraid of flying before. Shades of "friendly fire."
Sarah Ellen Scallan, U.S.A.

How can Blair ask people to get back to normal and start travelling when he was instrumental in the cancellation of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting? This was an opportunity to show the world, including the US, that the British and the Commonwealth would not give in to terrorism. The only way to defeat terrorism is to continue to exercise the freedom we so value.
Alan Piggin, Australia

How can anyone expect things to return to the way they were before September 11? We are not fighting a country that needs to build an army, navy and air force. They just need to find a few people willing to give up their life for a cause. We will not be fighting someone who needs a great deal of money to finance this war, just someone with a cause. This is something that is not going to go away. God help us.
Juanita, USA

People are trying to get back into their usual day-to-day routines, as best they can, but there is a sense that we are in "the eye of the storm" right now.

Nancy Fahrenthold, GA, USA
People are trying to get back into their usual day-to-day routines, as best they can, but there is a sense that we are in "the eye of the storm" right now. Going to work, shopping, and doing fall household chores all help focus attention away from what may be coming over the next weeks to months, events that few of us can control anyway.
Nancy Fahrenthold, GA, USA

I am nervous of chemical and biological attacks, apprehensive about a possible recession and unsure what is going to happen next. No, my life is not back to normal, far from it.
Jack Kybird, England

The attacks on September 11 snapped me out of the comfort zone I'd been living in for the past 40 years. Suddenly the suffering of people, war, terrorist acts etc. have become such a reality that I keep thinking of them all the time. We have natural disasters, diseases, and environmental problems to battle with. Do we really need this to add to our fights? Such a waste of life and we owe it all to the human intellect
Jessie, Malaysia

I firmly support ID cards. These should have been in use since WW2. Presumably those who don't want them want to be someone else. Sorry, but society must come first over ANY individual.
Bill Potter, England

Unfortunately, life is getting back to 'normal'; a contrived rat race in which the American corporate leaders continue to use all manner of devices; threats, brow-beating, pep-talks, to continue funnelling those all-mighty dollars into the pockets of the rich. Prime example? The rush to re-open Wall Street; in the heart of the disaster all the money-mongers could worry about was lost profits because trading had to be suspended. The terrorist managed to kill thousands and destroy, for the common people, a way of life, but to the money-makers this was only a speed bump. They only lost 4 days of trading! How proud and happy they must be.
Jose Silva, USA

How can it when here in NY we feel violated and our innocence gone forever?
Susan, NYC

All bags and even umbrellas have been banned. I even saw two fans relieved of the small, brown paper bag that held their sandwiches!

Jane, UK living in US
My husband began to travel into the financial district on the Monday after the attack - his commute is now lengthened to almost 2 hours. On Friday evening the children and I took the train to Manhattan for the first time since September 11th, it was heartbreaking to see for myself the altered skyline as the train left Newark Penn Station.

In our 22 months in the USA we have become staunch supporters of the NY Yankees and our objective on Friday was a game at Yankee Stadium. It was also an opportunity to meet up with my husband's brother who is also working in Manhattan and whom we had not seen since he had been here. On arrival at the Stadium we discovered security had been raised to a level that those of us who have lived in London, with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, found ridiculous.

All bags and even umbrellas have been banned. I even saw two fans relieved of the small, brown paper bag that held their sandwiches! Those of us who had taken umbrellas - and my brother-in-law who had taken a backpack to work so that he could change into sneakers before the game - ended up checking the items into a local bowling alley. Imagine the chaos at the end of the game as hundreds of fans crowded the place trying to retrieve items.
Jane, UK living in US

In the short term for most people things haven't changed really except for the awareness that things aren't as cosy as we once thought.

Bill Bell, UK
In the short term for most people things haven't changed really except for the awareness that things aren't as cosy as we once thought. In the longer term many things will have to change in order to minimise the chances of such a terrible thing happening again. There is the obvious threat of the radical Muslim fundamentalist movements. The longer term threat comes from those who look to monitoring and tagging us all in a move to try and remove this threat. These people are more ominous as they look to a world of either further controls on our freedoms or simply the profitability of implementing such systems.

Already these people will be grovelling around No.10 and Whitehall trying to influence and persuade the virtues of such systems and are profiteering on the murders on the 11th September.

One thing I would have liked to have changed is the attitude of the leadership of moderate Muslims. They can influence their communities to speak out against and report people they suspect of dubious activities in their communities. It is this information that will protect them in the long run and will also gain more respect from the wider population.
Bill Bell, UK

For so long Americans have been living like a bear in hibernation. Now the bear has been woken up and is a bit dazed as to how to go on. It would like to go back to sleep but it can't just yet. Hopefully it never will. The American public needs to stay connected to the world. Otherwise our government will do it for us in a way that angers the rest of the world.
Kate, USA

Life should get back to normal, because I think this would have been the wish of all those martyrs

Avril D'Coutho, Bahrain
Although miles and miles away, I can still hear the cries of innocent people buried underneath those huge piles of rubbles. But one day there will be answer to all those cries. Life should get back to normal, because I think this would have been the wish of all those martyrs.
Avril D'Coutho, Bahrain

I find it quite surprising some people believe that a resolution will be found by taking no military action, in whatever form it is. I personally find it hard to accept that some people are living in fear of this and trying to push terrorism under the carpet.

This deliberate attack on America will change the world, you cannot compare this to what has happened in the past. It is an individual occurrence; world changing. What happens from now will affect my entire life, some people are underestimating its importance. For years the threat of terrorism has been building up. How easy could a car bomb or explosives be detonated in a city-street or shopping centre?

For future of the free world we must drive deeper than the likes of Osama Bin Laden, deeper then al-Queda. The attack on the US has just surfaced a growing problem. Terrorists must be wiped out worldwide!
Alex Lewitt 16 years old Melbourne, Australia

We are all living in an integrated global society

Kelly, London, UK

I was in New York as part of my travels on September 11th. When I returned home 10 days later I realised what a global impact the terrorist attacks had created in terms of lives lost, the economy etc. Much to my anxious and perhaps naive desires, media coverage of the events in USA was as massive in the UK as they were the other side of the Atlantic. The fear did not end once I departed from the USA. We are all living in an integrated global society with the need to tackle terrorism as one united entity.
Kelly, London, UK

Get back to living normal lives? I don't think so. The world has changed and life is very different. Things will never be "normal". People need to continue to live their lives and carry on with the activities that give them meaning. However, we should never equate "normalcy" with complacency to the point where we forget the new/old world we are now living in. We should never forget to the point of letting our guard down.
I. Baldizon, USA

Just when you think that life is beginning to return to normal, something happens to jolt you awake again. Last week it was F16s escorting an Air Canada plane back to the airport or protecting air space over the college football game. have seen the dazed look on people's faces as they try to get on with their lives but can't seem to be unable to stop asking what next.
Louise, San Francisco California, USA

I'm astounded at the cynicism of Blair and Bush

Geoff, UK
Politicians would love us to think that things are "returning to normal" because it's good for the economy, even though that would lull us into a false sense of security. I'm astounded at the cynicism of Blair and Bush who are urging us to fly even though planes will increasingly be a target for terrorism.
Geoff, UK

No, America will never be the same again. Just wait until the next Presidential election when Americans get a chance to vote on a new Foreign policy, we don't want to be the world's policeman anymore!! Somebody stop the world,America would like to get off.
Debbie Curnes, USA

Interestingly, I've heard many of my fellow Americans say that they no longer will work the extra hours that are expected by employers in this country. Many people have been reminded, in the most horrifying manner, of the importance of family and friends, and the ephemeral nature of success.
Elisa, USA

Things are getting back to normal, but I fear we are doing so at the expense of forgetting the devastation of the attacks

Joseph Lopez, Binghamton, USA
I think the prospect of a return to normality is scary. I attend college in upstate NY, and here there are flags hanging everywhere and patriotic speeches printed out and hung on doorways, but everyone seems to be forgetting the attacks that occurred on September 11. They've gone back to their studies, or their parties and their alcohol and forgotten almost entirely about what happened. Watching a movie the other day there was a shot of the Manhattan skyline, with the twin towers still intact. Only I and one other person reacted to this, in a room of seven people. I think the fact that the other people in the room didn't react says that things are getting back to normal, but I fear we are doing so at the expense of forgetting the devastation of the attacks. That in itself is a scary prospect.
Joseph Lopez, Binghamton, USA

What is normal? Here in the UK I have lived my life knowing that at any time, anywhere, an IRA bomb could explode. We know here that there is a very fine line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist and it will never change. There will always be a cause to fight for what is right in their eyes and wrong in ours. America has had its time of peace, protected its turf, but to an extent been blind to the possibilities of deaths by terrorist acts. But the world is much smaller in the information age and the horrors that I have had to live with throughout my adult life have moved continents.
Stephen Eades, UK

Being so close to the Oklahoma bombing, this incident brings up so many memories. I know from experience that it will take years before NYC will be restored to its former self. I know the bombsite must look like a war zone. I also know that TV does not do justice to the true extent of the damage caused. I am trying to get my life back to normal. But a sadness pervades when I see reports showing people from the Middle East who believe we are the real terrorists.
Michelle McKay, Oklahoma, USA

These events have profoundly changed my view of my work. I teach at an elite private university in the US, and simply cannot rationalise teaching the way I have done in the past, in a way that is disconnected from the horrors and challenges of the outside world. It has become apparent overnight what a terribly complicated world we are now living in. In November, many of us watched in dismay as our country elected a leader of such clearly limited intellectual powers. Now it is even more urgent that we find some way of educating our nation so that we can harness the thoughtfulness and intellectual discipline of those who work hardest to hone them. We need to create a climate where intellectuals will feel some moral responsibility for the leadership of their country. I hope I will struggle for a long time with the question of how to achieve this.
Julie Sedivy, USA

Every time I leave my home I can see the gap in the skyline that has become a tomb for more than 6,000 of my fellow citizens

Suzanne, New York, USA
There is an enduring sense of grief in New York City that is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future. Every time I leave my home I can see the gap in the skyline that has become a tomb for more than 6,000 of my fellow citizens. Nobody I know here has resumed the life we lived before September 11. The pall that has descended on our collective psyche, as well as a feeling that going to restaurants, museums, or shopping seems far less appealing than it once did. The issue isn't fear. It's an abiding sadness that cannot be overcome by resuming "normal" activities. I can only pray that this was the last of what Bin Laden has in store for us, but common sense dictates that this is not the case. As I mourn for the victims of my city and my country I am also preparing to mourn for the victims of what is likely to come.
Suzanne, New York, USA

Life is not back to normal for the people of Afghanistan. It will also not be normal for us until we take a close look at the causes of the anger people around the world feel towards the US - and do our part to change them. The main cause is US foreign policy over the last several decades causing mass suffering for many people throughout the world. Large-scale violence from our side will only fuel further terrorism. For every man, woman and child killed by our sons and daughters, another terrorist is born.
Per Kielland-Lund, Wisconsin, USA

The headlines in our local paper talk of impending war, while many people are wearing red, white, and blue clothing, "patriotic" t-shirts and tri-colour ribbons. Cars and trucks have huge American flags attached to their antennas and the stars and stripes hang from almost every house. I don't find this reassuring or patriotic, it gives me the creeps. "God Bless America" is a slogan displayed in churches, restaurants and grocery stores. The belief that American lives are more precious than those of other nations, especially Arab nations, makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have had several nightmares directly related to the attacks even though I live three thousand miles away on the West Coast. No, life is certainly not "normal". There is an all-pervasive feeling of grief and dread about what will come next. I hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail. Let's start the biggest, most effective campaign for human justice and peace that the world has ever seen. That is the only sensible response.
Joanne, USA

It's important that we return to normal. My young son demands it of me everyday. When we're at the park or driving somewhere and spot a plane he still bounces in his seat, excited by it, while I watch it go by with a new found apprehension. In saying that, I won't stop flying because of this. I never liked to fly before really, but found that I had to from time to time. I don't want to spend two days in a car travelling someplace that's only a few hours by airplane. There were risks before September 11 and those are probably more likely to happen than a repeat of that terrible day. No one wants to be terrified in the last few moments of their life, but let's hope all the moments before that are spent living instead of avoiding that which might or might not happen.
Heather, USA

Life has gotten to normal for me, but at my college, one professor who teaches a political science course has been going nuts. She has been yelling at or cutting off students who disagree with her views, or who suggest that she read the international press or any news regarding the US's treatment of the Middle East. I wonder if she is even fit to teach at such a diverse college that also includes Muslim students? I'll just say with all due respect that I'm glad I don't look Arabic. I wouldn't be able to stomach the way they are being treated at the moment.
Chris, USA

I don't think that the media want life to return to normal

Hugh, England
I don't think that the media want life to return to normal. This has been a very exciting time for them: talk of war, terrorists, special forces, rebel fighters, good versus evil - ripping! How could they now stand to return to boring subjects like the new Tory shadow cabinet, foot-and-mouth, fixing the NHS, and London Underground?
Hugh, England

The innocent population of Iraq has been bombed weekly for the past ten years. Just how normal do you think their life is? The tragedy in New York was splashed in the media all around the world, and had a high impact in that sense. 1.5m Iraqis have died but everyone has still managed to lead a normal life here in the West, due to the ignorance of the crimes their governments commit.

We will return to normal once we have won the war.
Richard T. Ketchum, USA

Life is far from getting back to normal for those people living in the Middle East - its only just beginning for them. Its a shame that it has taken such an evil act for the world to wake up to its long forgotten values swept away by the powers of capitalism and all its fallout. Perhaps America will now adopt a fairer foreign policy based upon traditional morals and not just helping countries (e.g. Kuwait) out where it stands to gain oil.
Mike Davies, Wales, UK

Is life getting back to normal? I think so. These message boards are a good indicator. Last week, the UK citizens and the US citizens seemed like a family uniting. Now, its back to the petty bickering with each other! God Bless the UK and the US.
Paul, USA

I hope we never get back to normal

Ramona R. Baker, USA
I hope we never get back to normal. We need to hone the edge of awareness and maintain our unity, which is needed more than ever. We need to educate ourselves as to the potential danger that we are finally aware of after all these years asleep at the wheel. Bin Laden just bit our country, now we're going to take a big bite out of him!
Ramona R. Baker, USA

The world is obviously shaken by what has happened. America took the full brunt of the attack, but the tremors have been felt all over the world. The graphic horror on our TV sets, global recession, and an uncertain future all give rise to the fact that times are changing. Things will not be the same, but we need to establish a new level of normality, that will still allow us to go about our everyday lives.
Ali Evans, Australia

Normal? I don't think so. When there is talk of truck bombs, mobilizations and bio-warfare on every newscast this is not getting back to normal. This is perhaps the second most dangerous time for the US since the Cuban Missile Crises.
Ralph Levy, USA

Every siren makes me cringe

Joseph Scrivani, NYC, USA
I live in New York City. I watched the twin towers burn. I still have no long distance phone service at home and the phone service at work in Manhattan is still hit and miss. The city is still covered with "missing person" posters. Every siren makes me cringe. Subway service is still not normal and lower Manhattan still smells of smoke. Nearly everyone I know can tell a story of someone they've lost to the tragedy. So in answer to your question: no, life is most definitely not back to normal. I can only pray that it ever will be for those of us who reside in New York.
Joseph Scrivani, NYC, USA

When my four-year-old daughter sees an airplane, she still asks if it will fly into a building. Trying to explain to her why someone would purposefully do this without tainting her young mind with hatred is next to impossible. Mercifully, she doesn't yet understand the concept of "war". I worry about the world she will grow up in - it will certainly be different than the world of my childhood.
Susan Davis-Brown, USA

The world was turned upside down on 11th September, and I'm still struggling to right it. I grew up fearing a nuclear attack from Russia. Now we are working together. I grew up secure in the knowledge that good would always prevail. Now I fear evil. I grew up believing that I should love my multi-cultural, multi-national neighbours. Now I am suspicious. Does that mean these terrorists were successful? No. They failed. Because I've started attending church again; I've started reading newspapers from around the world in an effort to understand a perspective other than America's; and I've started smiling at Muslim people on the street because I suspect they are hurting as much or more than I am at this time. I guess good does have a way of overpowering evil after all.
Stephanie, USA

There is no "terrorist frontier" anymore

Mary Fairbanks, USA
Getting back to normal to me means that every time I now pass a restaurant in our town I will know that the head terrorist once ate lunch there. He probably even passed me on the streets. It is hard for me to trust anyone anymore and even the littlest noises bring out more terror. Just last night, another warped person called in a bomb threat and stopped rush hour traffic on a three mile bridge connecting the city to the north of us. It took three hours for them to declare it a hoax. Even living now with mosquitoes since the dusting planes are not allowed to fly seems such a minor sacrifice compared to what others have gone through. We Americans now know what your world has been like. There is no "terrorist frontier" anymore. God bless America, and God bless us all.
Mary Fairbanks, USA

Since 1812 when the British burned our White House we've not worried about invasion from outside. We're protected by two wide oceans to the East and West, and two friendly neighbours on our North and South. Oh, it was good to feel safe. War happened in Europe, Africa, Asia, not here. Have things returned to normal? If anyone in my country thinks they have, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy,
Pat Burke, USA

It will take years for life in the United States to return to 'normal'. Today a small fire in my States Capitol spanned the channels on Television - a few months ago it would have been the third or fourth story in the nightly news line up. But most of the city was evacuated over a blown transistor. The world is on a high state of alert bordering on paranoia, and I do not see an end to this paranoia coming any time soon.
Thestonge, USA

I'll never see the skyline the way I used to

Diane Bailey-Boulet, USA
I don't think things in the USA will ever be as they were before September 11th. But in the darkness of the situation there has also been a chance for us to reflect on what's important in our lives. Walking through the city last weekend I looked at the skyscrapers and thought for the first time how vulnerable they looked. I'll never see the skyline the way I used to.
Diane Bailey-Boulet, USA

I don't think that life is "getting back to normal" just yet. I think it's going to take a while - maybe even years. One thing is certain, at least for me: I have every intention of getting on an airplane this December and spending Christmas in Europe with my girlfriend. As far as I'm concerned, the terrorists haven't won a damn thing as long as I keep the attitude that to me there's no strangers in the world, but rather people I haven't met yet.
John Paul Rosario, USA

I awake every morning to the sounds of army supply planes taking off from a nearby Air Force base. This hasn't been heard since the Gulf War. If America persists in believing things will once again be normal if we can avenge the destruction of the World Trade Center with more senseless killing in Afghanistan, then "normal" is a long time in the future.
Leisa, New York, USA

What is normal? If normal is terror in the world, natural disasters, human suffering, people homeless, people hungry and dying, peace being prayed for and fought for in the name of religion, or government interference in foreign policies to suit their own agenda then yes, we are back to 'normal'.
Ray L, UK

I don't think life will get back to normal for a long time. Before September 11 the world seemed like such a big place. That has all changed. My world now seems very small and not in a good way. There is also the point that politicians keep warning us about further attacks or worse, chemical or biological assaults. Our world has changed and I wonder if life will ever be "normal" again.
James, Wales

We're often told that "things will never be the same again" - after the Omagh bombings, the death of Princess Diana and historically of course during the world wars. In all cases, life does get back to normal. If it didn't we wouldn't be human. I hope that we take forward the lesson from the World Trade Centre attacks that we need to work together as a global community to root out terrorism, but also to live together. A positive response to the plight of the Afghan refugees is a great start.
Simon, UK

Just thank God you don't live in Afghanistan. Ask them if things are getting back to normal.
J Senior, England

Ignorance leading to complacency is a dangerous thing

Pooja Chadda, UK
Mercifully like many others, I have remained directly unaffected by this act of brutal terrorism. However ignorance leading to complacency is a dangerous thing. We would be wise to be on our guard. One way or another things won't be the same whether we like it or not. I guess the key is to be vigilant and at the same time pray that NYC will be last of such mindless violence.
Pooja Chadda, UK

I truly believe that this tragic incident has positive effects too. Are we not told that good will be stronger than evil? I am convinced that many good things are happening in people's hearts and lives right now. I want to treasure everyone around me a lot more and make use of the time I have with others instead of staying isolated "doing my own little thing". I believe that every single deed of love - however small - counts against the powers of hate and violence.
Christian Lorentz, US

How can you get on with normal life when everywhere you look you see things advertising more attacks, biological warfare and nuclear bomb attacks?
Andy Stratt, UK

You still have to pay your rent

Sharon B, UK
We've had terrorist bombs already this summer and still life goes on. You get up go to work, take the tube etc because you still have to pay your rent, council tax and other expenses. The only thing that's been different for me since 11 September is the amount of nightmares I have been having. I have yet to have a single proper night's rest and I put a lot of this down to the imagery we see on TV and the incessant frenzy that the media have been stirring up with "war is imminent" etc
Sharon B, UK

I stood on the subway last night on the way home with a group of people talking about the US response to the attacks. I then looked around and saw the faces of a couple of Middle Eastern people - what must they be thinking? I felt like just asking the people chatting to just stop and change the subject. This must be a really hard time for the average Middle Eastern immigrant here.
Jamie Ibbett, Canada

I work at Canary Wharf, where many people both knew someone involved in NYC and who worked here at the time of the IRA bomb. Life goes on as normal, albeit with a heightened level of security - but then we're used to seeing security and police patrols here.

If you don't go on with normal things, then the terrorists have won. We were all shocked by what happened, but life - at least for those unaffected - must go on. As a side point, I don't remember these questions being raised after Lockerbie, at the time of the IRA bombs in Manchester, or even when the WTC was bombed several years ago. We need to move away from the media "hype" and speculation surrounding this horrible event and its possible consequences. Yes, there may be another attack, but there may be another IRA attack too. We can't go on sitting around being depressed!
Keith, UK

It seems cold, but life goes on

Cassy, USA
For those of us not directly involved with New York and DC, I'd say life is getting back to normal. I still wake up in the morning, go to work, face rush hour traffic, rude drivers, and road rage. I still go home in the evening, feed the cats, and try figure out what I want to make for dinner. I'm even beginning to think about starting my Christmas shopping. It seems cold, but life goes on, even though for many who have lost loved ones, it seems as if the universe should stop, just for a little bit.
Cassy, USA

I don't feel life will get back to normal until the Government makes clear exactly how it is protecting British people at the moment. I have nothing but anxious questions. Are people still wandering at will into the Channel tunnel? Why are so many vicious and known terrorists and supporters of terrorism living freely in Britain? Why haven't those Islamists wanted by Egypt for the Luxor attacks been arrested and deported to stand trial?

Tony Blair has (rightly) made it clear that he intends to protect ordinary British Muslims from attack, but what about the rest of us? Can we have some clear answers, please? Without these reassurances of decisive action here at home, any terrorist attack on British soil seems likely to make a tense situation murderous.
Michael Entill, UK

After black Tuesday, life can never be normal again. Things may seem to get normal, but how can anyone forget, even for a moment, that no one is completely secure anymore.
Raghuram, India

I don't see how anyone's life could possibly be back to normal: 1) A war is looming in the Middle East. 2) the economy is grinding to a halt. 3) our civil liberties are going to be eroded in an attempt to prevent/detect terrorist communication. We can continue to live our lives as best we can, and I for one intend to do so. But life is not "back to normal".
Mike Smith, UK

I have grown up in London with a constant and very real threat of terrorism, but I have never thought twice about going about my daily business. You cannot change your life for fear of terrible things happening. Americans will learn to adjust, and being "vigilant" will become a normal part of everyday life as it is here.
DF, London UK

The everyday lives of my people have returned to normal. Our hearts and minds have not. There is a battle lust there now. The only thing that will feed it, is Bin Laden in the final embrace of Old Sparky.
Bobby Alpy, New York,USA

It's certainly not back to normal as far as the media is concerned. The daily broadsheets are still devoting 10-12 pages a day to the "war on terrorism" even though nothing much seems to be happening. How much longer can they keep this up? BR> Jane, Wales, UK

Living near Stansted airport, I can assure you that it only took 2 days before "things got back to normal" - one plane a minute buzzing over my head without a care in the world.
Marther Adder, Stansted, UK

The major influence it has had on my life has been the large amounts of stories in the media. Like most people, I will only fly a few times a year at most, and so any extra delays will be a relatively small time in my year. As for being able to shop as before, I am unable to do as much as I used to do, but this is due to a twenty per cent cut in my take home due to tax law changes brought in by this Government, which also coincided with a drop in demand for people in IT. So the Government has managed to send me into recession whereas the terrorist actions will only have a very small effect on me.
Phil Jeremy, England

I have studied many different religions. I thought I would write to ask what exactly Andy Brown is trying to imply by saying children are made to memorise the Koran. In no place in the Koran does it suggest that killing innocents, causing havoc and oppressing other peoples' beliefs are the way of Islam - in fact it teaches the exact opposite. Besides are children who go to Sunday school or Bible class in this country any different? It is not what you teach it's how you teach it!
Kris Brady, UK

While life seems normal again in the UK, there is no doubt another suicide attack is just around the corner. Remember the pictures of schoolchildren in Afghanistan and Pakistan being forced to learn the Koran by heart, being taught that the Western world is evil and that death is an honour to be rewarded in heaven. We have to realise that this threat is enormous and that the world may not be 'normal' as we remember it for many years to come.
Andy Brown, UK

There is a huge sense of loss which we are all feeling

Roseanne Singer, USA
It is a yes and no answer. Yes, in a way things are back to normal; folks still go and do their shopping, kids are in schools, but this great country has lost its feelings of security and it will never be the same. I am now nervous to fly and to be in public buildings. There is a huge sense of loss which we are all feeling and I don't think anyone will EVER get over the terrible loss of innocent lives.
Roseanne Singer, USA

After two and half weeks everyone I know seems to have put the recent NY events to the back of their minds and are carrying on as before. Unfortunately for those who lost relatives and loved ones life will never continue as before. But ask anyone a question or raise a point concerning the prospect of war and it is evidently clear that they (and my myself included) are still somewhat concerned about a possible escalation of trouble.
AJ, Spain

My life never diverged from normal anyway. I was affected by what I saw on television but ultimately believe that the best response to terrorism is to carry on regardless. After all, disruption of our daily lives is exactly what they are trying to achieve.
Guy Chapman, UK

We must all be vigilant

John B, UK
A great danger is that life will return to normal after these atrocities. The fading of the initial panic is a good thing, but to slip back to normal, i.e. complacency, is to provide the terrorists with another chance. Life should (and largely is, in the UK at least) go back to normal activities of going to work, shopping, eating etc, but we must all be vigilant so as not to provide an easy opportunity for the terrorists.
John B, UK

As coincidence would have it, I was booking a flight right at the moment of the attacks. I took the flight, two days later, without apprehension. Since September 11 one notices more in the way of security measures but apart from that it is business as usual. Rightly so.
Peter, Europe

To make any changes to how I live my life would be to give in to terrorism. The terrorists affected countless lives on September 11th. Thankfully, I have not been directly affected by their actions and at least until I am, I will not be making any concessions to them. Would I change if someone I knew had been killed? Who knows, but until then they have no right to have any control over my life.
Tina, Dorset, UK

I believe that the lives of every person on this planet has been changed in some way

Graham Childs, UK
I believe that the lives of every person on this planet has been changed in some way by the horrific events in which the Twin Towers were destroyed. I believe that it is important to use this time to focus on change. With the increasing support for a reaction by allied forces, I believe we should use this as an opportunity to negotiate or form a new world order, promoting peaceful relations with one another, and an end to old conflicts, e.g. northern Ireland and the fighting in Israel. In this way we can all move forward, some more than others, and can ensure that the events of Sept. 11th do not recur.
Graham Childs, UK

Apart from the initial shock and disgust at the attacks in the US I haven't changed the way I live or work at all. I continue to work in central London using public transport and frequent the city at weeeknds. Whether it is being used to possible terrorist attacks or just ignoring the threats I find life is too busy to think about what one should or shouldn't be doing for the best. As it is I will continue as normal. Terrorism must not be successful or seen to be. My advice is keep on enjoying life.
Stephen, London

I would have made an effort but I've just been informed by my company that because of the traumatic events half of the company's workforce will be made redundant. Ooops, there goes my effort.
Frances, UK

I think we do need to get on with our lives. But also we need to pray and build healthy relationships with people with whom we disagree on some issues. This does not mean that we should condone wrong-doing or not seek justice for it. However, we need to address our own wrongdoings as well.
Adrian Brown, UK

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