Houstonians reflect on how 9/11 changed their lives

John Wayne Tingley sits near the World Trade Center memorial at the University of Houston. He was 10-years-old on September 11, 2001.

"I just asked my reading teacher at the time, what was going on? Why are people doing this? Why is this all happening?" he recalled.

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20 years later, the UH student says he is still looking for answers.

"She looked us all in the eye and said I can't answer that question for you, but maybe one day you'll be able to answer that question yourself. I’m still trying to answer that question," Tingley said.

He also reflects on how his dad would spend the next 5 years abroad as a contractor during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For some of his peers, most of their knowledge comes from textbooks and history lessons but reflections center on the lives lost and changed.

"All the kids who maybe didn't grow up with the parent that was there or how it impacted how we view national security," said Lauren McDonald, a junior at UH. She was an infant in 2001.


On Friday, UH Veteran Services will have events to commemorate 9/11 at the Student Center South from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The university is also the only one in Texas to have an artifact from Ground Zero on public display. 

Near the theater entrance of the Student Center South is a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center Towers. The memorial and reflection garden is open to the public.