I'm feeling unable to write a normal, newsy, "here's what I did this weekend" post today, so I want to take a minute to talk about 9/11/01. Since this event has become the major historical tragedy of my generation, I think most people can remember exactly where they were when they heard the news.
It was the first day of class in my sophomore year of Undergrad College. I was getting ready for my day - picking out clothes, humming along to the radio, and enjoying my new single room. I heard the radio announcer mention "a plane crashing into the World Trade Center" in passing, but I didn't think much of it. I assumed (like many people) that it was similar to when that small craft had crashed into one of the towers a few years before. Tragic for the small plane and certainly sad, but not much of a problem for the towers or the people who worked there.
That is, I thought that until I got to class. I picked a seat & settled in. My professor, who was also my advisor, looked very solemnly at all of us and said, "This is your JFK assassination." Until that moment, I hadn't even begun to understand the nature of the tragedy - its gravity & its repercussions. I was stunned & very close to tears.
The rest of that day is a bit of a blur. After class let out, I raced to my room to call my best friend R., who was just beginning her sophomore year at Big City College in Manhattan. Naturally, I couldn't raise her on her cell phone & spent the rest of the day worried sick. I finally heard from her that evening. She was safe & sound, unlike so many other best friends that day.
It's interesting to note how events like the attack on the World Trade Center (and Hurricane Katrina) bring out both our selfish demons & the "better angels of our nature." On September 11th, there was palpable relief in the Undergrad College community that we were so far from the "frontlines." On the other hand, on that day (and the days to follow), the line for the Red Cross blood drive at my school wove out the door & down the hallway. You couldn't get near the place.
After the 11th, politics took over. I believe the president has made many mistakes in judgment & foreign policy since that day. However, today, we take a moment to honor the best friends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters who lost their lives & their futures on 9/11. Regardless of their politics, religion, race or color (and isn't that the point?), may they rest in peace.