University Remembers Sept 11 10th Anniversary

University Remembers, Comments on Sept. 11 10th Anniversary

On Sunday, America paid homage to the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001. Ten years later, thankful citizens are continuing to move forward, but can never forget.

For many, the day began like any other. “I was in a cab heading to work. I had just dropped my daughter off at her first day of kindergarten,” recalled Charlie Johnston, a Manhattan resident. Johnston was headed to his office at the World Financial Center, across the street from the World Trade Center. The first plane hit while he was waiting at a stop light on West Street. “The building was on fire but I never saw a plane so I wasn’t sure what happened,” he continued. “I was very scared and didn’t realize we were under attack until the second plane hit.”

“I was in a meeting in my office,” remembered President Paul Gaffney II, who was still on active military duty and serving as the President for the National Defense University. The University is located in Washington D.C. approximately one mile from the Pentagon. “I had big bay windows facing toward the Pentagon that began to vibrate from the explosion,” said Gaffney. 

“We were about to start class when the principal pulled the teacher aside,” said Marc Yanneillo, a sophomore Communication and English major. In 2001, Yanniello was in the 4th grade.“

Another teacher ran in and turned on the TV,” he continued. The student body in Yanniello’s school was soon after given an explanation on the tragic events that would forever change the nation. “I remember thinking, what did our country do to make this happen,” he said.

“9/11 showed us that by using the technology of mass destruction, we are all vulnerable,” said Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology. “Our government was not doing a good job of sharing information and was not ready for an attack,” he added.

While the country faced such evil, the best of everyone came out to help in any way they could. President Gaffney recollected sending all medical personnel from National Defense University to the Pentagon by foot.

Many people who were young at the time of the attacks have a greatly affected world view. Although the country has continuously worked on recovering for the past ten years, many things will never be the same. For example, the New York skyline will always have a painful gap. Certain images however, will never leave the memories of witnesses.

“It was never a big deal if something happened in a building, like a fire alarm going off,” said Johnston. “Now people become extremely anxious and you understand the reality of the world we live in,” he continued.

“Culture has changed in dramatic ways, Americans feel less secure and it impacts our day to day life,” said Patten. “9/11 showed us that individuals have the ability to kill more people than some states. Super powered people that can kill 10,000 is something the world has never had to confront before,” he continued.

Some things can never go back to the way they were before 9/11. Heavier security will certainly affect the most. “It opened up everyone’s eyes that were not as safe as we think we are,” said Helmstetter.

As we remember our first responders and victims of 9/11, we must also remember the soldiers overseas who have been sacrificing their lives since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom which began in 2001.

“Soldiers are all volunteers, they can be proud of the work they’ve done,” said President Gaffney. “America has to take care of them as they return to the U.S.,” he added.

American’s ability to unify as one in times of crisis have allowed us to endure such horrible tragedies. Continuing to support each other is a must.

“People do forget what happened to us,” said President Gaffney. “The further we get away from it the more abstract it becomes, remember all the time but keep moving forward,” he continued.

“The best way to remember is to say a prayer,” said Johnston.

On November 3, the University will have three keynote speakers to share their accounts of 9/11 and the global changes since that time ten short years ago. Speakers will include, Mr. Tom Kean, Chairman of the National 9/11 commission, Lew Eisenberg, Chairman of the Port Authority during 9/11, and Ms. Virginia S. Bauer, Board of Trustees member, a 9/11 widow. The event will be open to the public.

Do You Still Think About the 9/11 Attacks on a Regular Basis, Just from Time to Time, Very Rarely, or Never?

University Remembers Sept 11 10th Anniversary 2