Not long ago Angelika Williams was watching television when she saw, once again, videotape of those jets slamming into the World Trade Center.
Williams had no personal connection to the events of five years ago: The victims were strangers, the attacks occurred far from her home in Edgewood and job at Aberdeen Proving Ground. But the searing emotions of that terrible morning came flooding back.
"I felt the same shock and disbelief again," said the 61-year-old travel agent.
Today, the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, will dawn on an America where memories still feel fresh and emotions raw, psychologists say. The pain will be strongest for those who lost relatives or friends. But researchers say the events made Americans in general more fearful and cautious, angrier and more impatient.
These powerful emotions have helped make Americans more trusting of government authorities, some psychologists say, more focused on their homes and communities, less tolerant of dissent. They may be more willing to sacrifice some privacy and other rights for a sense of communal security.
"Whenever uncertainty arises, there's a general support for one's own community and one's own culture," said Arie Kruglanski, a psychologist and terrorism expert who teaches at the University of Maryland, College Park. He runs the largest government-funded center in the nation for the study of the psychological effects of terrorism.
"There is a tendency to rally around the leader, to support cultural icons and cultural values," he said. "Political arguments that stress our values and stress our cohesion tend to be very appealing."
Before Sept. 11, 2001, Americans had been the targets of assassins, hijackers and bombers. Islamic radicals tried unsuccessfully to bring down the World Trade Center with a truck bomb in 1993. A homegrown terrorist, Timothy J. McVeigh, blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
But many Americans seemed to put those tragic events swiftly behind them. The assumption seemed to be that the United States was separate from the rest of the world and invulnerable to the conflicts that divide it.
That changed five years ago.
On the day of the attack, Tom Fitzpatrick of Keyport, N.J., climbed to the top of a parking garage near his office in Secaucus, N.J., after the first plane hit the trade center's north tower across the Hudson.
He saw the flash as the second plane hit, the two military jets scream down the Hudson River, and the twin towers vanish in hurricanes of dust.
"I can remember everything about that day," the 50-year-old said.
His daughter Savannah was at school. When classes were canceled, parents started to pick up their children. The mother and father of one never appeared. Both had been killed in the attacks.
"I still think about it," said Fitzpatrick's wife, Gretchen, who frequently rides the bus through a tunnel into Manhattan. "You say to yourself, 'Am I going to be on the bus the day they decide to hit the tunnel?' You just never stop thinking about that. We'll never again feel 100 percent safe."
Psychologist Jennifer Lerner of Carnegie Mellon University leads a team conducting a long-range study of the emotional state of Americans since Sept. 11. The team began studying the responses of a representative sample of 1,000 Americans nine days later and has continued to track them ever since.
Everyone responded emotionally to the events in his or her own way, Lerner said. But reactions generally fell into two categories: Some people mainly felt fear, while others reacted mostly with anger.
These two groups, she said, "saw the world very differently then and respond very differently now."
Jim and Gail Miranda of Albrightsville, Pa., are among many who, in recalling Sept. 11, still express outrage.
During a late-summer visit to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, both said they refuse to be frightened or intimidated by the threat of terrorist attacks. Both applauded the stepped-up security and government vigilance.
"We were lax for years; we were complacent," said Jim Miranda, 65, as he stood outside Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, with its huge American flag flapping in the sunshine.
Like many families, they were brushed by the events of that day. Their son was supposed to attend a meeting at the World Trade Center that morning. It was canceled at the last minute. "If he had gone, he would have been dead," said Jim Miranda, a retired communications worker.
They said the Islamic world should have done more, and should do more, to stop terrorist attacks. Neither, they added, should Americans ever forget what happened that day.
"I don't think we will ever forgive, ever," said Gail Miranda, a 64-year-old nurse.
Most Americans surveyed, Lerner said, reacted to Sept. 11 with anger. They tended to be more optimistic and more prepared to take action than those who were fearful. Fury helped give people the feeling that they weren't helpless in the face of uncertainty, that they had some control over the ominous threat of terrorism.
"Feeling in control and feeling that things are predictable reduces the biological stress response and gives us the urge to act," Lerner said. "Emotions are a perceptual lens through which people perceive risk."
Those who were frightened, she said, tend to be pessimistic and to doubt the value of taking action of any kind.
In Lerner's study, fearful respondents were also more likely to overestimate risks of all types, including the odds that they might contract flu, be mugged or die in a plane crash.
Williams, the travel agent, said two of her clients have refused to fly on business since the Sept. 11 attacks. Instead, they take the train, making booking their trips far more costly and complicated.
Williams still makes annual trips to her native Germany. But she says she became "more selective" in booking airlines and airports.
But anger can also distort judgment, Lerner and Larissa Z. Tiedens of Stanford's business school wrote in the April issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. "Most people would say it is not good to walk around afraid of terrorism," Lerner said. "But there are problems walking around angry about terrorism."
Angry people, Lerner and Tiedens wrote, tend to be "indiscriminately punitive," eager to act and "indiscriminately optimistic" about their chances for success.
"Fear triggers feelings of vulnerability," she said, "while anger triggers feelings of invulnerability."
A generation is growing up in the United States that does not remember the era before color-coded alerts, elaborate screening at airports and bomb-sniffing dogs at public events. As children, today's young adults have seen Americans jumping from New York's burning towers and a plane plowing into the Pentagon.
Adrienne Jones of Denver, now an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Colorado, recalls struggling as a 13-year-old to make sense of the attacks.
"I was really afraid," she said. "We had no idea what was happening. It made people feel more vulnerable. It was weird."
Allison Hamrick, 18, a friend and classmate at Colorado, played with her glasses nervously as she remembered Sept. 11.
"It was just kind of surreal," she said.
Both said the memories of Sept. 11 have barely faded, if at all.
Victims' relatives, of course, face the biggest test on this anniversary. Most probably suffer flashbacks, depression and general unease, said Elizabeth Carll, a Long Island psychologist who served on the American Psychological Association's National Disaster Response Task Force. "It's going to take many years for the grief to decrease."
But some survivors, she said, may have discovered new confidence in their abilities.
One woman fled the burning World Trade Center that morning and was yanked into a doorway by a stranger just in time to avoid being hit by falling debris. She came to Carll for help.
"She was very upset for several months, but her recovery went very well," Carll said. "It was probably an experience that in the long run showed her there will be adversity, but she can survive."
Tough new security measures can be both reassuring and unnerving, because they are reminders of the threat of terrorism. But Americans seem to have adapted, and even to rely on them.
Visitors to Fort McHenry sometimes volunteer to surrender pocketknives and baby strollers. Staff members reassure them that such items are permitted.
Vince Vaise, the fort's chief ranger, considered abandoning the practice of searching people's bags during summer tattoo ceremonies - evening performances by military units and re-enactors featuring martial music and drills.
But Vaise said he decided that the checks made people feel safer, and they continue.
Rangers say the dominant emotion felt by visitors to the fort is neither fear nor anger: It is patriotism.
The number of visitors has climbed in recent years from about 600,000 to 700,000, said Ranger Scott S. Sheads, the fort's resident historian. Flags sell briskly at the souvenir shop.
A display in Fort McHenry's visitors center invites the public to send e-mail messages to Forward Operating Base McHenry, in Hawija, in north-central Iraq. Like its namesake, the base in Iraq has come under rocket and mortar fire.
Sheads notes that the British fleet that attacked Fort McHenry in 1814 appeared in Baltimore harbor Sept. 11. Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the bombardment.
Nearly two centuries later, the fort - with its cannon and battlements overlooking the harbor - has become a place of pilgrimage in the post-Sept. 11 world.
"People still need to find a site that brings them closer to 9/11," Sheads said. "And this is it, because of the symbolism of the flag.
"It's one of the few places where people can come and reflect, not just about their personal lives, but the country as a whole. They can ask, 'Where are we? Where are we going?'"
firstname.lastname@example.orgTo see "Jackie's Story ... Life Since 9/11," an online slide show by Sun photographer Algerina Perna on Jackie Kopel, who as an eighth-grader saw the devastation at the World Trade Center from her classroom window, go to baltimoresun.com (multimedia).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun