Just the numbers, 9/11, conjure up memories of sadness and fear and devastation in my my mind.
I remember waking up to a beautiful day, with seemingly, not a cloud in the sky.
We had moved to our new home on March 10, 2001…and today it was Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
We had became semi-adjusted to having my mom live with us. It is a challenge living with someone who really does not know who you are or where they are or who has no frame of reference as to your life together.
Mom, would often ask me, where in the world are we?
I was getting ready for work, at Southern Illinois University, and basically, listening to the Today Show, when I heard one of the Anchors of the Show say that it appears that there has been an explosion in one of the World Trade Center buildings…and that perhaps a small commuter plane had gotten off of it’s course and accidentally struck the building.
I was reminded of our our tour of World Trade Center II in June of 2000.
I had never felt such a feeling of unease as I did during this morning tour. The occupants of the building seemed to have an aura of trepidation about them and there was a a heaviness or foreboding, at least to me, through out the building.
I recalled the terrorist attack of 1993 on the World Trade Center.
‘The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, carried out on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 pounds (606 kg) urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to send the North Tower (Tower 1) crashing into the South Tower (Tower 2), bringing both towers down and killing tens of thousands of people. It failed to do so but killed six people and injured over a thousand.’ Wikipedia
I wondered, after I heard of the Pentagon being hit by a plane and the White House being evacuated…if this was the beginning of World War III?
The courage of the first responders and so many citizens was inspiring.
The stopping of Flight 93 by several passengers and flight attendants…no doubt saved many lives by thwarting the hijackers intent of flying the plane into the Capitol Building.
‘Vice President Dick Cheney, in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center deep under the White House, upon learning of the premature crash, is reported to have said, ‘I think an act of heroism just took place on that plane.’ Wikipedia
My office was at the Physical Plant and it occurred to me that if this was a nationwide concerted War Effort that there might be plans to bomb the tremendous coal furnaces at the Plant that both heated and cooled the Campus.
I walked through the Student Center where students were huddled around television sets watching the unimaginable horror of that day.
I heard on student exclaim that he was just looking for a, ‘rag head to kick the shit out of.’
I thought, when I heard this angry and illogical assertion, that whoever was responsible for the inhuman devastation of our country…certainly there was not students in the Student Center that were a part of the plot.
I think that we must continue to seek out those who would do us harm and endeavor to prevent them from doing so….this is just.
However, we must also realize that there are countless members of humanity that are different than us and who have a different faith system from us…that are wonderful members of the human family and should be our allies and our friends.
Many of the terrorist attacks, since 9/11, have been perpetrated by American Citizens.
I sat in on a class, that my friend and former chancellor Jo Ann Argersinger, taught on 9/11.
She told the class…that the events of the day…would change many of the freedoms that we had been enjoying and taking for granted…out of the fear of the unknown and a reoccurrence of the horrors of the day.
She was right.
We must join hands with every friend and person of good will. We must continue to be the land of opportunity.
‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand.
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beaconed hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’
The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus