Attack on America: My First Reaction

About an hour ago Kari woke me up talking about planes and hijacking or something. She was so serious that I hopped immediately out of bed and we flipped on the television. Slowly it occurred to me how serious this really was.

I saw the tower of the World Trade Center smoking like an oil torch, and as I sat there in disbelief they show an airplane slam into the other building. A terrible fireball poured out of the opposite side of the tower. Massive debris rained down on the streets of New York. I couldn’t believe it.

Then slowly-but-suddenly the walls began to transform into a cloud of dust and debris. The goddamn tower was collapsing! It seemed to take more than a minute for the tower to fall to the ground. A few moments later the top section of the remaining tower, which had been burning since I sat down to watch, suddenly began falling. As it fell, it took the rest of the building with it.


It was like something out of the movie “Armageddon.” I have been awake for an hour and this incident is only four or five hours old, so I’m sure there’s more to come. How many cameras were running when that plane hit New York City? I’ve always wanted to go to New York. Not that it was to be the reason I would’ve gone, but I always wanted to visit the World Trade Center. That is now impossible.

Since it is, after all, still a school day, Kari and I left for our one class for the day. I’m sitting in her class right now because my class (marching band) has been cancelled “in light of the awful national tragedy.” As we walk to the music building we saw that the women’s dorm next to the music building was evacuated. It occurred to me that I should’ve brought my camera. Girls and a couple of police congregated on the other side of the street from the dorm. Could the terrorists want to destroy an obscure dormitory in West Texas? I don’t think so. It was just the first sign of what (I think) is to come.

We walked through the music building that is connected to the University Center. Since the largest class on campus (band) has been cancelled (along with many others) the hallways were packed with people. Everyone was standing around with more or less the same stunned and confused looks on their faces.

Occasionally you would see someone crying, but most people appeared emotionally unaffected. It was clearly the topic of 90% of all conversations throughout the building (and probably the nation).

We walked through the UC itself and I was reminded again that I should’ve brought my camera. People were sitting all around the indoor courtyard and two televisions were set up and tuned to CNN. In a room with more than a hundred people in it (or more) it was decidedly quiet.

We made it through the UC and walked across the campus to Kari’s class. The sound of sirens confirmed to me that something (even if it really was nothing) was going on at that dorm. The three giant flags in Memorial Circle were at half-staff. I wonder if they were at full staff this morning. Did they have to be lowered at one point this morning? We moved through the Mass Communications building heading for Kari’s class and every room had a TV on. I wonder how many classes today will have the attack as the topic of discussion. Maybe it should be.


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