It was a day no one could ever forget, although some may try. Exactly twelve years ago on this day, eyes were glued to TV sets as footage revealed the terror after hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Some UMD students recall being in elementary or middle school, full of innocence and quickly forced to understand how cruel the world can truly be—a reality that past generations had faced before, and one that history continues to repeat. Described by some as the day the world stopped turning, and for others the day the world was flipped upside down, Sept. 11, 2001 would forever mark a tragic day in history.
“I remember I got up for school and my mom told me that there was a crash in the Twin Towers and they were falling, and I just remember not knowing what that was. I was too young to figure it out. I went into school and it was all over the news.” Andre Mykel, junior
“I was sitting in class and all of a sudden all of the teachers started freaking out. They turned on all of the TVs and gathered us all around and explained to us what was happening, and when you’re that young you can’t really grasp the gravity of the situation. . . . It was the first time in my lifetime that I actually knew that we had been hit on our own territory." Cody Shaffer, junior
“I just remember that we got let out early, and I went home and my mom was in a panic because my dad had to take a plane that day from New York to Canada. We were really worried—that family experience of my mom being so worried about my dad because he had to jump on a plane the same day that happened. It was really scary. I was so young and it was really hard to understand the political aspect of it.” Lis Pedersen, senior
“I was at the University of Wyoming as a visiting assistant professor. I was in my office that morning when a colleague walked in and said that something just happened in New York City; check the news. I checked the German news first because I figured it would probably not be quite as busy, and sure enough it was there. A couple minutes and it had already spread across the globe. My department cancelled all classes and I went home. I just sat in front of the TV with my wife who was expecting our first child at that time—she was about five months pregnant. And the next day we went to a spontaneous memorial service on campus.” Olaf Kuhlke, Associate Dean, CLA
“I was sitting at a table at breakfast . . . and we were watching in total amazement as they started going to live video. It was a breakfast phenomenon. And of course, the problem is you’re hooked, you want to know what the heck is happening. So the whole day was dominated by those events.” David Cole, Associate Professor, Philosophy
BY KIM HYATT firstname.lastname@example.org