On September 11, 2001, Quinnipiac University’s students, faculty and staff, as well as the rest of the country, were forced to face some of the worst feelings in the world.
To see the wreckage from the first plane. To find out that the plane crash was not a freak accident. To see the second crash, many of us having seen it live. To know that your loved ones, your friend’s loved ones, your neighbor’s loved ones, your colleague’s loved ones, your mailman’s loved ones, could be in one of those buildings.
To watch the Pentagon in flames. To watch the faces of journalists as each development unraveled; anxious faces not doing much to ease your fears. To watch what looks like a Godzilla movie, with people running in a frenzy away from the crumbling World Trade Center towers. To hear about the two other crashes. To just want to turn it all off.
To listen to the phone ring off the hook at 9:00 a.m. To not be able to make a phone call by 9:30 a.m. To feel a twist in your stomach as you await a phone call from family, hopefully only bringing good news. To realize that whether or not you knew them, people were being innocently killed. To not know who did it.
To develop the realization that anything can happen again, at any time. To be scared that if the country lets its guard down, the terrorists might take advantage of that. To await the number of victims. To know that the chance of survivors under the World Trade center are slim. To imagine the terror they were feeling.
To walk the campus, silent and solemn. To see the faces of students, faculty and staff as they began their day by trying to process the news. To see the tears in the eyes of many, the fear in the eyes of even more. To watch the signs go up in the Student Center, announcing counseling services for the tragedy, and wishing there was never a tragedy to warrant a crisis center. To return to apartments, dorms, and homes, and not be able to escape from it all.
Through all of this, good was seen among us. It was a relief to know that you were not alone in your grief, that there were people willing to help. Having friends, faculty, and staff come to you to offer consolation if they saw you would prove that the human nature is not as vicious as it seems. The access to cell phones provided by your peers as you continued to contact family and friends showed the willingness of others to help. Knowing that there is still good in this world, and that you were surrounded by a lot of it, served as a relief.
Everyone at Quinnipiac University pulled together during this tragic time to support one another. Now all we can do is hope that the rest of the country can do the same.