9/11 10 Years Later: Navigating the Post-9/11 World

On Sat, Sept 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM "Peter W. Brusoe, '03 '04" wrote:

September 11, 2011 I was late for my Selected Topics in Religious Studies with Sister Maureen O'Leary. I made it from Dutch Quad to Chapel House in record speed and I came in at 8:55. 10 minutes late for class. My biggest concern was how to sneak into a 20 person class with my lateness unobserved. I entered and The entire class was crowded around the television. I whispered to one of the other students' what's going on? "Someone accidentally flew a plane into the World Trade Center." I gasped.

We were watching mesmerized at the damage on the tower when the second plane hit. Everyone was shocked, Sr. Maureen cancelled class and told us we could go back to our dorms if we wanted. Some of the students in the class went out to call back downstate. Sr. Maureen asked if I could help pass out a flier for a special mass and a bunch of us went around to the different quads to pass out the information.

When I had gotten back to my room all of my other classes were cancelled. There was a phone call from my mother telling me that if I wanted to go home my father could pick me up. I thanked her and assured her that I was OK and that the University was safe. The Mass that Fr. Longbucco preached that afternoon was amazing and brought comfort to many. There was a huge blood drive in the campus center. People wanted to do something and they could donate blood. I remember seeing students who were national guard reservists mustering out in their uniforms ready to go. That night there was a vigil. The entire university community gathered around the lecture center fountains and we heard words from Dr. Hitchcock, Dr. Dellafield, the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish Chaplains. Each of us had a candle and it looked like a starry night. I remember thinking that in the darkness there were these points of lights to guide us.

That semester was a whirlwind, but UAlbany did the things that it does best:

1) We supported one another emotionally
2) We provided relief and volunteer efforts
3) We brought serious academic questions and engaged with terrorism.

Rockefeller College created a special class called "The September 11th Project." This class was cutting edge with reading and understanding causes of terrorism, the events leading up to September 11th, and creating a unique database of newspaper coverage of the event for eventual publication by the faculty member. We had a variety of guest speakers present and we were able to do a number of exciting projects centering around the event.

Living in Washington, DC there are constant reminders of September 11 all around me. The Metro (subway) has random bag inspections on my daily commute. Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 17th has been turned into a parking lot. When I fly into Ronald Reagan Airport we are reminded by the flight attendant that we cannot move the last 45 minutes of the flight. I keep a pair of sneakers, shorts and a sweatshirt in my desk in case the Metro is shutdown and I have to hoof it back to my apartment.

As much as we have come to accept the need for these changes and disruptions in our daily lives, the threat of another September 11th is always present. I remember in late August when we had a minor earthquake the first reaction of several of my co-workers was terrorism. We were glad to find out that it was only an Earthquake. Much still needs to be done to further secure our country, including stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan into peaceful democratic regimes, continuing to support our hardworking military men and women serving abroad, and developing comprehensive policies to ensure screening of commercial shipping, securing both our northern and southern borders, and improving our human intelligence capital.

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