Oral History Assignment


Oral history is “the research and process of collecting, retaining, and understanding the perspectives and recollections of individuals, societies, and participants in the old days” (Sommer & Quinlan, 2018). Oral histories could enrich current narratives and are vital to “heritage from below.” According to opponents of oral history, Memories seem to be an untrustworthy information source, and the respondent may have a biased opinion. In a conversation with my father (Name), he provided his view on post-9/11 international relations. My father observed 9/11 from his office building, which altered his perspective on international relations, as it did for many others from across the nation. My father’s story of 9/11 plus his perspectives on international relations since then allow us to peer into the thinking of one American to measure the national mentality toward foreign relations. Still, his narrative alone restricts the significance of his judgments.

Literature Review

According to Freund (2019), New York Town’s mobile phone networks were soon overwhelmed (a massive call episode) following the incident as regular traffic quadrupled. In addition, mobile phone usage on the Eastern Seaboard was overwhelmed, resulting in cell telephone network failures. The urban Verizon wire internet service was disrupted for weeks and days due to severed subscriber connections and the closure of the 140 West Street interchange for weeks. Cut trunk connections connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan also reduced capacity. However, according to Graff (2019), Cellular network problems were not fixed until September 14, 2001, when 36 cellular COWs were installed in Lower Manhattan to help the U.S. National Disaster Management Agency and provide essential cellular service to response and relief teams. Due to the fact that the signal repeaters of three central broadcast television network-owned and -operated stations were located atop the North Tower (One World Trade Center), programming was restricted after the fall of the structure. National Public Radio station WNYC’s F.M. transmission was also damaged in the Twin Towers fall, and its headquarters were removed. It remained to transmit on its AM frequency and utilized NPR’s New York headquarters to create its programs during a transition phase.


Oral history allows us to examine historical facts from a variety of viewpoints. In an interrogation, one might get new evidence and confirm current understanding. My father was capable of clarifying how he understands communications in international policy in light of his opinion on 9/11. First, I questioned him about his activities on September 11, 2001. He said the day began like any other routine workday, but the cell phones suddenly stopped functioning. Once his brother contacted him, he witnessed the World Trade Center on fire and realized what was occurring. He said, “We turned to the radios, and the newscasters were discussing terrorists in New York City.” He saw someone leaping from the World Trade Center. When he stepped out to go home, he characterized the atmosphere as a “black cloud” and “extremely frightening.” His unique viewpoint on the events of September 11 sheds light on the tragedy since it gives a fresh perspective on the situation.


After hearing my father’s narrative of 9/11, I inquired about his instant reaction to foreign affairs. He stated, “The main difference after September 11 would likely be an increased feeling of insecurity and a need to take the initiative. This assists the country in comprehending how individuals felt about their protection following the incident. When asked how he currently thinks about the United States’ anti-terrorist global strategy, he said, “I have had some reservations about the people becoming the policeman of the world. Whether we are to risk American lives to combat terrorism or penalize terrorists who terrorize other nations or peoples, there had to be a vital U.S. purpose at issue or a genuine international emergency.” He declared he would support a new anti-terrorist strategy that safeguards American lives. His perspective on international relations throws light on a voice in the nation advocating for innovative counterterrorism measures. He also explained how he believes 9/11 continues to affect our nation today. “The USA is secure, but now we have gained numerous new adversaries who feel we are already at war with Islam,” he continued. He said that maybe we should only attack those who threaten us. Due to the imperfect nature of our country’s foreign affairs demonstrates the view of a portion of our society that we must exercise caution while intervening globally (Thompson, 2015). Witnessing 9/11 has influenced some of his opinions on foreign affairs, and these ideas may be used to reflect a national perspective about the shift in international relations following 9/11.


My dad’s narrative of 9/11 and his foreign affairs opinions give insight on a crucial subject, yet relying only on his experiences limits the number of writing options available. His views could be used to symbolize a certain voice in the nation, but they cannot be used to reflect the viewpoint of the whole nation. Numerous considerations necessitate that we accept historical accounts with a pinch of salt. The very first aspect is demography. People come from various social classes, educational levels, political parties, etc. My father, a Democrat, will not have the same ideas on international relations as republicans. Thus it is unfair to use his comments solely to define USA’s foreign policy positions after 9/11. In addition, his grasp of foreign affairs may vary from that of a person with lower education, who may not comprehend that, as well as my dad, who concentrated on international affairs in college and earned a law degree. Secondly, generalization of the view of a community relying on a personal viewpoint within that community would provide statistically insignificant findings.

In conclusion, my father’s experience of 9/11 is distinctive. Other individuals have entirely different experiences with it, regardless of whether they heard it on the news or saw it from another city area. Other individuals were also impacted differently by the tragedy — some people lost family members, for instance — which may have informed one’s current perspective on foreign affairs significantly than it did for my father. Oral history may be a valuable method for determining one person’s viewpoint on an event; however, one person’s viewpoint restricts the options for reporting something about an event demographically, other people’s views, and other circumstances.


Oral history is a subject that may be used to support a verified historical moment or possibly alter what we currently know about history. Nevertheless, as seen by my father’s description of 9/11 and his opinions on foreign affairs as a consequence, adopting it as the sole source of information inhibits a thorough knowledge of an occurrence.


Sommer, B. W., & Quinlan, M. K. (2018). The oral history manual. Rowman & Littlefield.

Thompson, P. (2015). The voice of the past: oral history. In The oral history reader (pp. 33-39). Routledge.

Graff, G. M. (2019). The only plane in the sky: An oral history of 9/11. Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster.

Freund, A. (2019). Under storytelling’s spell? Oral history in a neoliberal age. The Oral History Review.



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