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A day that will never be forgotten: 10 years after the Sept. 11 attack

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On Sept. 11, 2001 senior Peter Stergios’ eyes were glued to the screen as he watched as America was under attack. “I remember the images of people jumping from the tower because the flames were too hot,” he said. “Then, almost as if in slow motion, I remember watching first one tower, then the second, crumble and the incredible cloud of dust and ash that was vomited out of the wreckage." “Sometimes something so terrible happens to a people that they never forget it,” said Tim Erdel, associate professor of religion & philosophy. That same day, junior Alisha Schuiteman was getting ready to leave for the airport to board a plane to visit her aunt in New York City. “They announced that there had been a tragedy of some sort so all flights would be canceled,” she said. “I had to go back home and wait until April to visit my aunt. Her building was right by the twin towers so she had to be evacuated for weeks.” Dawn Goellner, director of the master's of business administration program was living in Northern Virginia around the Washington D.C. area at the time. “When the first attack occurred, I was still at home in my study working on a lecture for a class,” she said. “My husband, who taught at George Mason University, called to say that they had been asked to cancel classes because a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.” Later that night Goellner went into work even though a curfew was established in the city. “People were not to be out on the roads driving that evening, so we began calling students to make sure that they knew not to come to class,” she said. “I was just about the only administrator in the building. It felt spooky, there in the office and later when I went out on nearly empty roads to drive home.” According to Erdel on Sept. 11 students and staff gathered “in the chapel for a time of solemn, urgent prayer for the victims, for the rescue workers, for the nation, for our leaders, and for the whole world, even for those who would be our enemies.” In this time of tragedy the citizens of this country united. “In the weeks that followed, more and more people displayed American flags on their homes and on their cars,” Goellner said. “The attitude was, I think, one of mournful strength.” According to junior Amy Shirk, people were not only patriotic but also more religious. “People prayed more openly and almost everyone flew the flag in their yard,” she said. “Firefighters got a lot of attention and were superheroes overnight.” Since that day America has not been the same. People are more aware of the evil that is taking place in this world and recognize how fragile the human life is. “I believe that people are now more able to view our country as a part of the rest of the world, as opposed to the U.S. being an untouchable entity—a haven for those fortunate enough to have just happened to have been born here,” said sophomore Jessica Hostetter. “It expanded U.S. citizens’ worldviews, and continues to do so for every generation that hears the tale of devastation retold.” Ten years ago tragedy struck this nation. It is an event in America’s history that will never be forgotten. According to Erdel it’s important to remember Sept. 11 and all that was lost; to remember the victims, the families, and those who gave up their lives to save another’s but it is also important to remember everything else that happened because of the events that took place. “Remember the way so many in our nation turned to God, however briefly, in their hour of need, confusion and despair. Remember our own need for God, in whom we live and move and have our being, without whom we are nothing, whether times are good or bad, whether we are touched by terror or not.”
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