Friday, September 9, 2011
Where Were You?
I heard this song this morning. It will probably get played a lot over the weekend.
And so I ask . . . where were you? Where were you on September 11, 2001 when you heard about the attack on our country? How did you react?
I was a senior at Bob Jones University. At 9:00, which was just after the first plane hit, I started Spanish class. I remember about halfway through the class that one student's cell phone rang. The teacher was annoyed since phones were supposed to be turned off during class & he quickly silenced the call. When class got out I remember seeing him in the hall on his phone, likely returning his missed call. Later that day I found out that his mom was the one calling him, telling him about the attacks.
Keep in mind of where I was at the time. There were very few TV's on campus. So news of the "outside world" didn't come instantly. This was also before the days of smartphones.
So after Spanish class I went to the next room which was the "Language Lab". Basically you had to spend so much time in there each week doing language exercises, listening to tapes to improve your speaking abilities in the language you were learning. I think I spent about 30 minutes in there.
We had chapel Mondays through Thursdays at 11:00. Since I had some time to spare I decided to walk to the library to check my email. There weren't a whole lot of people in there but I didn't think much of it since it was during a class hour. Checked my email but there was nothing about the attacks. I probably could have gotten on some sort of news website but I didn't. I was probably there about 15 minutes so I started heading to the FMA (Founder's Memorial Amphitheater) for chapel. I remember the campus seeming empty. Not a lot of people out. Again, I thought it was weird but didn't put much more thought into it.
Once I got in the FMA I met up with 2 friends. And they asked me if I heard about the terrorist attacks. What?! They said some planes had flown into the World Trade Center. I also remember one friend being a little nervous because she felt these terrorist would want to do harm to Christians & a place like BJU, especially in a general assembly like chapel, would be their perfect target.
Chapel wasn't like others before. Dr. Bob updated the student body on what was known at the time, which wasn't much. It had only been a little over 2 hours since the first plane hit. They weren't even sure yet who the attack was from. I remember him also saying that there could be as many as 10,000 people killed in this attack, considering it was in New York City & how many people usually are in those buildings. That just blew my mind.
He chose for the school day to go on as usual. Classes would continue as normal. To this day I still have mixed feelings on this decision. Yes, there was no good in just sitting & worrying. But there were students from New York or Washington, DC that were scared for their loved ones. I had one friend who was scared because her dad worked at the Pentagon & she couldn't get a hold of anyone in her family. She finally got to talk to someone later & was relieved to hear her dad was ok. But I felt bad that she had to try to focus on class while worried about her dad. It didn't seem fair.
That day I was having lunch with a friend. He had a class at noon so I had to wait for him to get out. So I went to the bottom of one of the girls' dorms where a TV was so I could watch the news & see this for myself. Seeing that 2nd plane hit the other tower just didn't seem real. It was something you only saw in movies.
That night President Bush spoke to the nation & we were able to see it as another general assembly. There were a lot of tears. A couple of my friends had actually been inside the World Trade Center just that summer so to see those towers crumble to the ground was hard to watch.
Patriotism was amazing after that day. I think there was an American flag in every dorm window. My roommates & I even bought some red, white, & blue lights & strung them around our window.
So that's my story. I've seen one of those reposting status' that says how I couldn't tell you what I did last Tuesday, but I could tell you what I did on that Tuesday 10 years ago. That couldn't be more true!
Again I ask, where were you?