In tragedy the world is united



Campus Times
September 14, 2001


by Christine Owen
Editor in Chief

"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 Jodie."

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 owenc@ulv.edu.