Remembering 9/11

Before examining the ramifications of the tragedy that happened five years ago today, I want to remember the victims outside the political sphere.

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I rememberwhere I was when I learned what had happened on 9/11. I was sitting in the fourth row of a materials class in Hammond Building. It was just before 10:00am. It was my first class of the day and having woken up about half an hour earlier, I had showered and walked to class. I hadn't watched the news or listened to a radio in the 30 minutes between waking and arriving in class to hear Sal tell me what had happened.

I wasn't the only one.

Upon realizing what had happened, class was dismissed. I went to the Student Union (HUB, for Penn Staters) and stood, watching the big screen TV on the second floor in a large, silent group of students as the news slowly sank in as to what had happened.

I watched the planes fly into the towers over and over as the news replayed it.

I watched the first tower fall. As an architect, I thought about what Minoru amasaki, the WTC's architect, must be feeling at this point. I watched the second tower fall from the dorm room of a friend.

The rest of the day was a blur. I remember that the next day, there was a candle light vigil on the lawn of old main. I showed up early and stood near the building. About 20 minutes later, I turned around. The entire lawn was full, fromSackett to Hammond, all the way down to College Avenue.

* * * * *

In the days that followed, I remember the feelings of solidarity, yet I don't think I ever felt the militarism that some felt. I already had a strong dislike for President Bush and feared that he'd #### up the response.

By the time Halloween rolled around, we'd already been subjected to the Patriot Act. At the time, I was no more informed about the contents of the act than many of the Congressmen and Congresswomen that voted for it, but to be honest, the name scared me. The more I learned, the less I liked it.

It was sometime in early 2002 that I realized that the GOP and the Bush administration were no longer acting in good faith and were going to use 9/11 as an excuse to do whatever the #### they wanted.

This, more than anything else, is what alarms me about 9/11 - not that there are people out there willing to crash airliners full of people into buildings to make a political point. There will always be desperate, dangerous, charismatic people with violent tendencies. People, or at least most people quickly identify those people as people that need to be stopped. Watching the public rally around and support a group of people that would make every effort to gain politically from a tragedy like 9/11 is crushing.

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