Today is seen as a general ceasefire among all politicians and political bloggers and I will also follow suit not only here, but also in my classroom as I teach the students.
Five years ago around the time I am typing this, I had gotten up to get ready to go to class and then to work in Alexandria after that. I showered, shaved, and went to the Bistro in the Johnson Center at George Mason University. My first class was at 9am, dealing with how to write history papers. The Bistro had the news on, but I left there at 840am. I sat in class and tried to stay awake through the whole thing. What got my attention was my cell phone vibrating on my hip.
It was not very often that someone called me and so I figured it was either a wrong number or something might be up. When my cell kept vibrating, knew there was a message, but the timing for the message alert was off. It was around then I knew something was up, but figured it had to do with a family member. My mom might need me to do something, etc. After I got out of class, I was more wrapped up in my own world and looked to see who called me. It was rather amazing now to think of how oblivious I was to my own surroundings at that time.
I had three messages from my dad. THAT caught my attention immediately because he usually never calls me during the day. I tried to access my voicemail, but was unable to. I shrugged it off and figured I would get the messages later. It wasn’t until I got to my History of Germany class that I found out what happened. The Twin Towers were hit and they collapsed.
When I heard that word, I imagined the buildings falling over like a tree and the surrounding buildings destroyed too. I raced back to my dorm room and grabbed my mini television and took it back to the classroom. By the time I got back, my professor said she was going to let people leave.
I went back to my dorm room and my roommate was freaking out because rumors were circulating that the State Department was blown up, in addition to the Pentagon being hit. Cell phones were worthless that day as everyone tried to call each other. I emailed my cousin Erin, who lived in NYC, to see if she was ok. Thankfully, she was alright.
I tried to get in touch with my parents, but that was almost next to impossible. By the afternoon, I finally got in touch with them. I found out my mom was in the Pentagon, but on the far side of the building and safe. Both my mom and dad were going to wait out some of the traffic in Crystal City.
As for me, I sat through a meeting of the Mason government which seemingly did nothing to comfort anyone and then went back to my dorm. It took a while for me to finally listen to my dad's messages on my cell phone. I was smart enough to remember to save them and I do have a tape of my dad’s messages on my voicemail which tells of how the news came in on this day. For a historical record, it is something that shows exactly everything that we were feeling on that day.
A moment that had occurred at GMU, but I was not witness to, was that a couple of Arab students walked up to ROTC students and said to the effect that they had gotten us good today. I reflect on the fact that the ROTC students showed remarkable discipline in not lashing out at those students. If it were me, I would have probably done it and gone into mob mentality mode. Sometimes not being somewhere is a good thing.
After everything that had happened and the emotional drain I had experienced, I will always remember the movie, The Patriot, because that was the first “regular” thing my roommate and I watched after the attacks.
So on this day, let us all say a prayer and remember the victims who were killed. May we never forget.