11 September 2014

Where Were You on That September Morn?

On 9/11/01, I was the Director of Sports Medicine at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. As I was pulling out of my driveway on the way to work, the radio DJ interrupted the music to say that a plane had just hit one of the world trade center buildings. About 30 minutes later, just as I was crossing the Missouri river bridge into St. Louis county, all the music stopped as they announced the impact of the second plane. No one had to be told at that point what was going on. I hurried in to the office to find a group of students and other science faculty crowded around a TV set with the rabbit ears up (you could still get broadcast TV back in those days). In what we later decided was the best use of our time, the faculty members and students sat together and talked about what it meant. Classes were cancelled; not officially, but by about noon much of the campus had crowded into the science building to be a part of our group instead of going to class. It was a great time of fellowship, somber but still bonding, between the faculty and the students, and I won't forget it. (Yes, the Provost forgave us.) The weight of what happened did not hit me for a couple days. 9/11 was on a Tuesday, and on that Saturday morning, I was on my riding mower mowing my 3 acre lot, and I glanced up at the sky. There was nothing there. It finally hit me how big a deal this was, and how much everything had changed. I had to stop the mower and have a little cry. This was one of only about three times I've cried as an adult. It was an unusual moment, to say the least. I've gotten cynical since then about stuff; it is good to stop and remember and lose the cynicism. Some things are bigger than our petty gripes.

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