Tragedy Can Unite Us After All
Sep. 9, 2011
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was headed downstairs from my dormitory at the University of Texas. School had only been in session a couple of weeks at that time, and it was my freshman year. My roommate and I were headed downstairs for breakfast, as usual. On the way to the cafeteria, we walked by the TV room and saw several students watching the news. A plane had crashed but we didn't know there was a bigger problem going on.
I actually started thinking, "what is up with pilots these days," since recently an R&B artist, Aaliyah, had died in a plane crash; so, we kept on walking. The cafeteria was filled with students, with no idea what was going on either. My roommate and I departed, and I walked to my first class, playwriting, which was in the theatre building.
This is where I found out there was a problem.
In the center of the building there was an area with couches and several TVs, all showing the news, and this time I was able to see that the plane had crashed into a building. Everyone in the theatre program knows people in New York, so the whole building was in pandemonium: People screaming, crying, yelling, frantically trying to call people on their cellphones.
I still didn't know it was a terrorist act at this point, but one of the buildings started to collapse just as the bell rang. I went to class greatly confused. My teacher didn't even know why she was keeping us, half of her friends lived in New York and she was supposed to move back there at the end of her graduate program. Her mind was not on school either. School continued until noon that day when the president of the university shut it down. I spent the rest of the day in my dorm room watching the news.
Now at that time, I was not really a fan of George Bush. No comment on my thoughts now. But after seeing him with his arm slung around a firefighter saying "the whole world hears you" I was ready to kiss him, I was so proud of him. It's odd what good PR will do. Amazing really.
But Bush aside, I think September 11th united us. Sadly it was temporary, but we did all feel better connected for a while. And that's how life is. It takes really bad things for people to find the good in what they have and who they are. It's damn near impossible to see the goodness until it's staring you right in the face.
If something like this happened right now, would we all be united around Obama? Would his approval rating go up, just like Bush's did during that time? I don't want to find out.
— Harmony is a young professional who loves to blog about cooking at Dreaming of Kumquats.