In tragedy the world is united
September 14, 2001
"Hiya Christine, I cannot believe the news about the N.Y. &
Washington terrorist attacks. I just can't seem to get my head around the
unbelievable events that happened yesterday. The chaos in the U.S. at the
moment must be awful. The whole of the U.K. is totally stunned about what
happened. The news coverage is almost 24 hours a day. I hope that you
are well and that life in the U.S. will get back on track for you as soon
as possible and that they catch these bastards that have caused so much
destruction to so many people's lives. Take care and keep in touch, Love
That was part of an email I received on Wednesday morning from my friend
Jodie who lives in England. We can only wonder how many emails like this
one have gone flying around the world over the past few days. Probably
too numerous to count.
After I came home last December, Jodie and I were eager to keep in touch,
but as the semester wore on, our contact became irregular. But then a catastrophe
happens and we realize that as humans, we're not so distant after all.
There are certain events that happen which permanently affect our souls,
and Tuesday's events were among those for me.
As humans, we all felt the horror and pain for the victims. As Americans
we felt a mixture of pride and anger about how such an event could happen
on our soil. And as students, we had to go to school.
Did you take notice of students as they walked around campus? Did you
talk to them? I did. Some students had family and friends in New York that
they were worried about. Some had relatives that worked in the twin towers,
but for whatever reason, hadn't gone to work that day. Some said they were
in the reserve forces of the military and had received phone calls to be
on alert. Some were stoic but once in a classroom environment where they
felt comfortable, they shared their stories.
Discussion flowed in classes as students express their thoughts and
emotions. I can't think of anything healthier to do than this. Talking about
such a tragedy heals in a mysterious way. Talking about it seems to be a
way to process it and not be consumed by what has happened.
I was amazed by all of the groups on campus that provided outlets for
students to express their feelings. I think that with all of the criticism
that the University receives, it really showed it was concerned during such
a terrible time.
All over the world, there are people praying for the United States and
sending resources to help. Governments are denouncing this cowardly act
of terrorism. There is unity throughout the world and our country is being
surrounded by it. That is amazing and beautiful. It is tragic that the only
time we see such unity is in the midst of a catastrophe.
I challenge every one who reads this column not to become callous to
the sights we have seen on television and the images that have been forever
seared in our minds. The media will no doubt continue to broadcast the footage
of a passenger plane crashing into the twin towers and it might become easy
to think that it is just a scene out of "Independence Day."
I also challenge everyone to give something of themselves to help the
victims in New York. There are opportunities to donate blood, food, clothing
and financial resources. I certainly hope that my fellow Americans would
be willing to help us out if a tragedy like this happened here in our homes.
Somewhere on this earth someone orchestrated a terrible plan and caused
massive destruction in our great country. But overshadowing that is not
just a nation, but a world that is committed to uniting against terrorism.
I wrote Jodie back and thanked her for her thoughts and concerns and
reassured her that I was just fine. Her letter had lifted my spirits and
put things into perspective for me.
We all feel united as Americans against this tragedy, however it is
reassuring to know that our country's loss is in the hearts and minds of
people around the world.
Christine Owen, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of
the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.