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last word the last word
The Tragic Events of 9-11-2001
Albrightians share their feelings of grief, fear, anger and hope.

“Before the thoughts of terrorism and war came fear, relief and shame.

Just after the second plane struck the World Trade Center (on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001), I was sitting at my desk, wondering what was going on in my favorite city in the world and checking my e-mail. Thankfully, my brother, who does occasional work in the city (sometimes in the towers), thought enough to send an e-mail to let me know that he wasn’t working in the city on that particular morning. This is the same brother I have hardly talked to in the last two years because of a family “feud,” reaching out to let me know that he was safe. At first, I was relieved. Then, I was ashamed. I had spent the last two years being upset with him over a petty situation.

I learned two very important lessons that morning. The first is that life is too short to carry a grudge. The second is that we never know when we will see someone we love for the last time.

Therefore, it’s important to always cherish what we have and let people know how much they mean to us. I was lucky enough to escape any regrets I may have had because my brother wasn’t working in the city on that horrible day. Thank God for that.”

— Jessica L. Shue, director of prospect research and stewardship

This attack has a much larger impact than most of us realize. It has affected the entire world, not just the U.S. Terrorism is an idea and ideas don’t just die with people. Bombing another country and causing them the same trauma we have suffered will not solve anything. The world has expressed its sympathies and even taken their own measures to prevent a similar attack. But my question is, where is the money, loans, and labor? We have helped so many countries with their clean up and rebuilding efforts, why do we receive none?”

— Christine McGrath ’02

“Loss of life is never a fun thing to talk about especially when that loss is caused by views that we Americans do not understand. I think that as Americans we have lived under the false pretense that our country is always right. To understand why different countries feel the way they do we have to separate ourselves from our country and view America’s presence and affect on the world objectively.

America makes choices that will prove to benefit itself. World politics are comparatively like a giant game of survivor. We make alliances to ensure that we make it the furthest in this game. If that means that we make our friends our enemies and our enemies our friends, then so be it. I think that politics is also like romance: you woo whoever you are courting. However, when we choose to break someone’s heart, we have to expect that there may be repercussions. Does that mean that that country or group has the right to seek revenge? No! What that means is that if and when atrocities such as these happen, as a country we must not automatically retaliate in a violent way. As Americans, we have an obligation to be a positive role model to all of our neighbors.

My heart goes out to all of the victims’ families and friends. I just hope that we do not choose to inflict the same type of pain on anyone else.”

— Hosea Baker ’02

“I was working in the college’s digital media lab on a project for video production class when the first images of the planes hitting the World Trade Center in New York were broadcast around the world. When the horror and shock of those images finally became real, I remember praying for the safety of those directly affected, including a professor from the department who lived in Manhattan. As an American, I am forever changed by the chain of events that were set in motion that day.

Events like this present us with a choice. We can choose to respond with understanding, mercy and tolerance. Or we can decide to respond in a negative way. This is a choice. We choose good character. We choose virtues. It is an opportunity that all Americans must seize if we are to make the world a better place.

Focusing on retribution rather than understanding worries me. If we focus on the place where hatred pools and devise a solution to put it to an end, we would not be talking about retribution only. I hope this will end in the fact that the empowering sense of togetherness America has shown will include other countries in the world. The best outcome is not only global policing but also global responsibility. Unless we find this type of balance, we are going to always have people who want to destroy us.”

— Kate Ketter ’03

“Terror struck me as I thought of my friends who work both in the Towers and around the immediate area. But as the day progressed I heard from each one, thankfully saying they were fine; shaken and in shock, but alive.

As the week progressed and I watched the news casts of the horrific destruction, I would sit and cry, night after night. Most of it due to the loss of life and the evil attack that struck our country. But I have to admit, some of it was guilt. With my wedding only a little over a week away I thought to myself, ‘How can I feel happy and excited about my life and upcoming marriage when so many are suffering the loss of their loved ones? And I felt selfish, mad at myself for thinking of my own happiness at a time when the entire country is grieving. But then it struck me.

Life must go on. We cannot let these evildoers stop us from living, for when we do, that is when they have won.

Jennifer Post Stoudt, associate director of college relations and editor, The Albright Reporter

“Like many faculty, on Sept. 11 I learned about the tragedy as I was on my way out the door to class. It took all the strength I had to collect myself to face the students, most of whom were bewildered and a few of whom knew nothing of what had happened. In retrospect, I realize how fortunate I was to have my students, whose young faces staring back at me at that moment gave me the incentive to focus my energy when I would have rather crumbled.

As fate would have it, in my Yoga: Philosophy and Practice class we had just begun a discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Epic that recounts a conversation between Arjuna, the reluctant warrior and Krishna, the Supreme Lord. As a metaphor for the inner struggle on the battleground of life, this profound text took on new significance as the students and I struggled together to maintain our centeredness in the midst of great emotional turmoil. The meditational techniques and yogaasanas (positions) that we use in the class became powerful tools for dealing with trauma and stress.

In my other classes as well, the subject matter of religious studies enables us to focus and reflect upon our ultimate values, both personal and collective. Perhaps that is why neither attendance nor academic performance has declined in any of my classes. Despite the enormous challenges that face us as a country and an institution, I have not lost hope. My students remind me that it is not only about me and my generation, but about the generations to come: I am more determined now than ever not to give in to fear and intimidation, and to continue to struggle for the higher path.”

— Roxanne Gupta, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies

“The events of September 11th left an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of the American people. Sadly, what we experienced on that day is an all too familiar reality in the lives of others throughout the word. So I offer my prayers to them and hope that all of us never experience such horror and anguish again.

I offer my prayers to those who lost loved ones in the attack and hope they find the strength to carry on. I offer my prayers to my Muslim sisters and brothers and hope that they do not become victims of the same hate that fueled the attacks. I also offer my prayers to the recovery workers in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and New York and applaud them for their tenacity. And, finally, I offer my prayers to those who perished in the attacks and hope that they have found eternal peace. Peace and Blessings.”

— Tiffenia Archie ’92, director of academic support, disability support and minority retention

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reporter contents :: albright college