On a single day, the eleventh day of September in 2001, this generation of Greeks and Goths, of super-jocks and computer nerds came to a united halt. Three edifices, symbols of our nation, were attacked; suffering extensive damage and, in two instances, complete destruction. Four jet airliners, carrying innocent victims, were sacrificed. Our generation has only been exposed to peaceful times. We know not of the bitterness of war, nor of the horror of terrorism in our own backyard. Our vision of our nation, of invincible strength and irrefutable perpetuity, was challenged.

On this day, the eleventh day of September in 2002, we pay homage. Our souls still cry for those that perished. Our hearts still ache for those that lost loved ones. Our spirits are still grateful for those that became heroes. The aforementioned attributes of our nation, although tested, were not annihilated. Instead we discovered that the eternal pride and power exist not within the minds and bodies of our legislative powers and armed forces, but subsists in the morale of everyday citizens. And we, this generation, hold the responsibility to maintain this posture as we prepare to inherit our homeland.

Heather Dillingham

Sophomore in Language and World Business

September 11 was a study day in between two days of my PhD competency exams. Totally focused on preparing for the next day, I had no media contact. With study notes in hand, I invited my husband to accompany me on a silent walk.

As we circled Christenberry Park, my husband broke the silence. He said, "I had an overpowering feeling just pass through me. I just felt the souls of all those who had ever played in this park. I felt them leaving life, leaving Earth. There were thousands of them. I felt their joy." I glanced at my watch; it was 10:05 AM.

It was 3 that afternoon before we discovered that perhaps what he experienced earlier might have been his feeling the souls from the Twin Towers transition from life to spirit and leave Earth. He assumed that the spirits, the souls leaving life, were from earlier times and from the park. Later we realized his experience occurred as the first tower collapsed.

If there is any comfort to be taken, the souls were vibrant, full of life memories, and joyous as they transitioned to spirit form.

Vivian Pilant

PhD Candidate in Nutrition

A year later, the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 remain indelibly fixed in our collective consciousness. The images of horror, heroism, and humanity have not dimmed. We now realize that the United States is at once the most powerful nation in the world and also the most vulnerable. How we deal with these two fundamental facts will dictate the future not only of the United States but of the entire world.

Loren Crabtree

Vice President and Provost

We should live each day as if we all worked in the Twin Towers on 11 Sept. 01:

Never let an opportunity pass you by;

Never leave home in the morning without showing your loved ones affection;

Never stay at a job if you are unhappy;

Never doubt that God is ALWAYS in control.

Brea Nicole Samuel

Senior in Microbiology

The first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks no doubt leaves us much to ponder. The past year has been one of incredible drama and change. For American Muslims, the impact of that memorable day and its aftermath has been especially overwhelming. Thoughts raced in our heads from the moments of the first newscasts...."Will my peers look at me differently when I walk into class tomorrow?" "Will I be treated like a stranger in my own home?" We knew from experience that although a preponderance of Muslims condemned the terrorism inflicted against on our nation that day, an attack wrought by any Muslims would invariably leave a scar on us all.

Indeed, we did hear a fair share of backlash stories, and some of us maybe even experienced a taste of it. We also had to endure the sting caused by the barrage of insults and attacks slung upon our religion. However, despite this, perhaps what stands out most in my mind from the past year is the incredible warmth and support that my Muslim peers and I have experienced in Knoxville, and particularly on the UT campus.

Immediately after the attacks and talk of anti-Muslim backlash began, the Muslim Student Association received a countless number of e-mails and other forms of support from individuals and groups on campus. Some people wrote just to reassure us that their thoughts and prayers are with us, and others wrote offering to help us in anyway possible, even if it meant personally escorting us to class. Thankfully, we did not need escorts.

The support did not just end with e-mails, nor did it even stop with the occasional cards and flowers we received. We also received invitations from various organizations, churches, professors, and others to share our experiences and to educate others about our faith. Recognizing the importance of promoting an accurate understanding of Islam and encouraging intercultural and interfaith dialogue, the Muslim Student Association also sponsored a series of events. The great responses we got to these events proved to us that people here really are sincere in their support and desire to learn. I will never forget the day when nearly 150 non-Muslim women on campus wore headscarves in a show of solidarity with their Muslim counterparts. It was probably the best day of my collegiate career.

I talked to friends and family members in other parts of the country who told me about negative incidents that had occurred where they live. They were surprised to hear that my experiences in Knoxville, TN-in the heart of the Southeast-were significantly more positive than negative. To tell you the truth, although I have lived in Knoxville my whole life, even I was surprised.

Muslims believe that God sometimes places great tribulations upon people in order to test and strengthen their mettle. It would have been easy for people to respond to the tragedies of Sept. 11 with the same kind of unbridled and bigoted hatred that bred the terrorism in the first place. Some individuals perhaps did choose this path. The vast majority, however, recognized that the diversity of this country is one of its greatest strengths and that the suffering inflicted on us, rather than dividing us and setting us at war with one another, should show us how important it is to realize our common humanity. In this way, I believe the mettle of this campus and the greater community was amazingly strengthened, for most chose love over hate and peace over hostility. And for that, I am incredibly thankful.

Maha Ayesh

Senior in History and Sociology

I remember waking up late, and I turned on the television to see the weather forecast and there was a news bulletin. I thought to myself, I hate these things! While waiting for the weather to come on, I read the caption, Twin Towers hit by two airplanes, and my jaw dropped.

My selfishness ceased and I began to cry and call my family. I didn't attend classes that day, I sat with close friends glued to the television hoping that they would announce something I hadn't heard in the previous hours. I asked God why he would allow such a horrific event happen to so many innocent people. I felt so helpless, so I prayed.

Today when I think about the tragic events of September 11th, I am optimistic and confident in believing that God works in mysterious ways and that everything happens for a reason. That day brought our nation together at a time when we needed it most. I will always remember the events of 9/11 with a feeling of sorrow, but I praise the Lord for the love, worship, and prayer that our nation experienced as a whole and still experiences to this day.

Amber Warner

Senior in Nursing

September 11th is a day that we will never forget. I can still remember walking into the University Center and seeing students crowded around the televisions with a look of both anger and sadness. America lost part of its innocence that day. For many of us, we have never had to deal with a crisis of this magnitude; therefore, we were not exactly sure how to deal with many of the emotions that we were feeling. I know there were many students who felt as if America would never be the same. America is strong and we were able to recover, but we will never forget the events that occurred on September 11th. They will forever be stored in our memory. We should always remember our fallen heroes.

Elizabeth Clement

Student Government Association President

A colleague of mine had a daughter, Ilona, living in New York City at the time. An art teacher, she worked only a few blocks away from the Trade Center. She joined the many brave souls that walked through the cloud of desolation that day. Ilona came up with the idea of making soft sculpture stuffed toys as a way to comfort NYC's children. She asked her father, George, an art education professor at the University of Kentucky to put the "word out." Our UTK "Foundations of Art Education 301" class created a bounty of soft toys!

Some students had never sewn before. We took up the task and learned about allowances, stuffing, fabrics, paints, buttons and trims. We related this information to our art education learning and understandings. We constructed toys that had wonderful personalities. Some chose to deconstruct former toys and transform them into personal masterpieces. Attached to each toy was a handmade tag, with wishes of love and peace.

When I drove the two plastic lawn bags full of toys to Kentucky and delivered them to my friend, we embraced with joy! I thank those creative students, and value the time we spent together in class.

E. Stephanie Taylor

Coordinator of Art Education

The attack of 9-11 brought home for me something I was already vaguely aware of: we all live in one world.

Relatively easy international travel, relatively open borders, relatively free movement within our borders, these together with compact, easily-transported weapons of mass destruction - biological and chemical, more than nuclear or plane-bombs - mean that there's no way we can make this country safe while ignoring people who live outside our borders. Since we all live in one, shrinking world, we're going to have to figure out how we can all live together in mutual respect and prosperity. We can't eliminate terrorism by identifying all the terrorists, finding them all and killing them. We must also fight terrorism by marginalizing potential terrorists within their own culture. Can we create a world in which there will be no more support for a terrorist attack on NYC in the Middle East than there would be in Ireland, say, or Greece, or Japan? We'd better get on it.

John Hardwig

Professor of Philosophy

I find myself staring at the calendar in disbelief. It is September already. I can hardly believe that it has been an entire year since my world was jolted with the harsh reality that our time spent in life is far too short and that no one can predict what he or she will do tomorrow.

In just a few short moments, our paths that we so cautiously plan out can be completely diverted. Families can be torn apart, lives shattered, hopes and dreams crushed.

And although September 11th will forever remind me of the pain and suffering of an entire nation, it now holds a new image in my heart as well: a reflection of a nation overflowing with love, support, and patriotism. Never before have I witnessed such amazing compassion and strength in our nation. For a time, the world stopped turning, and no American turned his back on another. Every breath was savored; every hug and every tear was sincere. Our nation was laid bare before the world, but instead of crumbling, we stood stronger than ever before.

And now we stand together, united, with the memories of those lost forever imprinted in our hearts and minds.

Jessica Lenden

Sophomore in Speech-Language Pathology

It takes a cold heart and a warped mind to not remember and reflect on the tragedy on 9/11 that canceled thousands of lives. At this point I cannot listen to a patriotic song such as "God Bless the USA" without getting emotional in some way. It is my hope that we all reconsider our actions towards others, no matter what ethnical, social, religious, economical, or political values they may have. Time is so limited and life is too precious for us to be consumed by our petty differences among each other. We have all been affected one way or another, so I ask that everyone would take time and think about the ones you love and those who love you.

Kristen Higgenbottom

Senior in Public Relations

Ways to Honor 9/11:

o Respect those who have made a difference but are no longer with us.

o Honor those who made a difference while they were with us by carrying on their good works.

o Volunteer for an organization that they were a part of, or work to raise awareness of issues that were important to them.

o Make your Neighbors your friends.

o Enjoy the simple things in life, and give up technology for a day (phones, computers, TV).

o Read to a child. Be an Everyday Hero.

o Work to make our world safe.

Rosa Thomas

Wellness Coordinator for Student Health Center

Since the continuum of 11 September 2001 had effects worldwide, then why is it that not everyone in the world agrees with the current "War on Terrorism?" In a sense, a continuation of the other wars that the US has been involved in - against people of color, socialists/communists, agrarian/land reformers, impoverished/poor people, and/or others that would stifle the profits of US corporations or resist US rule. Is it because people are not satisfied with the evidence, or lack of evidence, presented by the current administration and our counterparts in the United Kingdom?

No more war, war will not solve the problems, only make things worse. We need the truth and the whole truth, not a piece of the truth. To truly honor those that died on that day and from the "War on Terrorism," the whole truth must be to go, not retributive justice (vengeance). Ask questions of yourself and of the "official story line". Think and imagine a better world that works for all of us, not just some of us. Peace, the complete truth, and restorative justice are the answers, not war. "With great freedom comes great responsibility."

Irucka Embry

Senior in Civil Engineering

I was a senior at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Va., which is approximately a forty-minute drive from the Pentagon, where the attacks happened. However, I don't want to tell you what I went through that day, as I feel my experience is similar to many others, instead I would like to tell you the story of what my boyfriend, also a senior at the time, went through that day.

He is an Emergency Medical Technician for the Centreville Volunteer Fire Department, so as soon as we found out about the attack on the Pentagon he left school to go to the station. For the majority of the afternoon he rode on the ambulance, which was attending to any normal day emergencies, however, they were waiting for the call that would dispatch them to the Pentagon to help with the rescue efforts that were taking place. It was around 11:30 that night that they received that call. They only spent a few minutes at the Pentagon because it was far too dangerous to attempt to do anything while the fires were still burning.

However, it was those few minutes that have changed him for life. In my eyes he is a hero; on that day he dropped everything to do what he had been trained to do and was willing to risk his life for it. I think that on this one-year anniversary we not only need to remember those that were lost, but we need to thank those heroes that are still with us.

Jan Bricker

Freshman in Special Education: Deaf/Hard of Hearing

What can one say? We will never forget the moment we heard a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. Disbelief turned to panic when we heard the second tower had been struck, and it was deliberate. Then came other reports of planes hitting the Pentagon and crashing in Pennsylvania.

Our first thoughts were of those poor people, and of those trying to rescue survivors. This was a defining event in the history of America. It will be one of those events that will live in our collective memory forever, just like Kennedy's assassination, the Challenger explosion, Reagan being shot, or the Oklahoma City bombing. Those were traumatic events, yet they pale in comparison.

So, devastating were the events of that day, that a phenomenon occurred, which nothing else in recent history had managed to do. For days after 9/11 we truly were ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Which God? It didn't matter. We were all Americans. Things like race, religion, or color did not matter. All that did matter was that we, as a country, had been attacked. Flags flew from every building, home, and vehicle.

However, as with all things, America forgets. We forget that, although we love all, not all love us. We forget that over 2,000 civilians and emergency personnel were murdered. Approaching this one year anniversary we have already begun to question steps our government has taken to increase the security of our nation. Our sense of security is slowly returning, so we wonder if there really is another attack coming. We hear people making jokes when the government puts out safety alerts and talking about how nothing ever happens. Our patriotism is also waning. American flags no longer fly with the frequency they did following the attacks. Now, except for the occasional sticker, you are hard pressed to see a flag on a vehicle. Don't get me wrong, we all hope with all our hearts that nothing like that ever happens again, but it will, and we know it will.

I was reminded of this at my children's soccer practice last week near the airport, and as we set there watching them, a plane approached for landing. As it did, for a brief moment everyone stopped, looked skyward and seemed to wonder, "Is this it?"

What are our thoughts? Anger, fear, sorrow, expectation...

Dana McReynolds

Detective, UTPD

Like most American Muslims on the morning of 9-1l, I prayed. I prayed that the terrorists would not be Muslims. Chilling memories of anti-Muslim stereotypes and hate crimes soon after the Oklahoma City bombing quickly began to resurface in my mind.

When the terrorists did turn out to be Muslim extremists, I knew that the next few months would be the most challenging ones of my life. It was my last semester serving as president of the Muslim Student Association and despite the fact that many Muslims chose to hide in those days of fear and uncertainty, the MSA chose to boldly go out and inform the campus community that the terrorists never did and never will represent Islam. We put our trust in God and hoped that our MSA could help bring good out of this tragedy. It was a time of intense sleep deprivation and lower grades, with many MSA officers constantly serving as spokespersons in the local media.

The immediate response to our events from UT students and faculty amazed us. The sheer number of e-mails, phone calls, and cards of support uplifted our spirits all semester. In this time of reflection, I just wanted to express my deepest love and gratitude to all of you at UT who gave the Muslim students hope that our country's greatest ideals of pluralism and tolerance would never be sacrificed.

Tarek EL-Messidi

Senior in Logistics and Transportation

Let there be no mistake about it: 9/11/01 was a tragedy that scarred this nation forever, an event that immediately affected the lives of thousands and soon reverberated to affect those of millions. Nobody should attempt to discount the human suffering that resulted from it.

9/11/02 was also a lost opportunity for this country, or so it seems a year later. We talked about a "turning point," the "loss of innocence" and similar rite-of-passage metaphors. The US was going to be awakened by the force of the tragedy. One would think that, after the immediate reaction, this would have translated into a sober reevaluation of half a century of foreign policy. Our elected officials had an incredible opportunity to ask tough questions about why the US is perceived as evil in so much of the world and distrusted by its own allies for declaring itself outside of the purview of international law.

Instead, we let a war-hungry and myopic president to lead us down the primrose path at the hypnotic chant of "God bless America," which will result in even greater suffering ahead, for both Americans and others. What a shame. Did the victims of 9/11/01 really die in vain?

Massimo Pigliucci

Graduate Student in Philosophy

I heard the horrible news leaving a meeting from the University Center Plaza. I had stopped at the Prayer Hut to speak to the persons working the hut. John Unthank was working and begin to tell me what had just happen. I return to the police department and met with Chief Yovella. Chief Yovella was sending Capt. Freels, to the command post at the city and county building. I began calling in extra staff as we did not have any idea what the day would hold for our campus.

As we made preparations, no one could not feel or sense the loss of freedom our country had experienced. I wonder how someone could hate this country so much that all those lives would be lost due to that hatred.

We made all attempts to staff areas and meetings that safety may become an issue. We answered many calls from staff, students, and family members and assured the callers we were protecting all our community members.

I was so proud of our staff as demands for long hours and heighten security at all major events became an exhausting task. I never heard one complaint or negative comment from the staff no matter how long their days become.

I have enjoyed observing people openly talk about God and patriotism. I think our country needs this renewed faith. I do not believe I will ever feel our country is safe from terrorist attack and that will always bring sadness to my heart. I do believe all the law enforcement agencies are doing everything to make our community safe. I am thankful for the cooperation from our community and visitors to the security measures we had to put in place. I believe everyone understands what we are doing and why even if it causes inconvenience. God Bless America!

Deborah Perry

Assistant Chief of Police, UTPD

The tragedy brought us closer together last year. As our mom's called us to turn on the TV, and we stood in lines to give blood, we helped each other cope with the fact that we are never sure how safe we are. We still don't know what the future will bring, but we cannot feel totally secure. Mourn on this day, but for the people that you do have to hold now, hold them a little closer and don't take life for granted. Be respectful and always act as if it was your family the tragedy hit. I know it hurts for the people who were directly affected. Embrace life for what it has to offer for we never know what idiot might do something uncalled for and stupid.

Austin Daniel

Junior in Business

Much has been said of changes since last September. But our politicians are still alternately mooning and ignoring the world. Rumsfeld and his pack snarl that Saddam is Hitler is Bin Laden, and inspections don't matter, anyway. Powell vacillated masterfully about Israel's apartheid, and was recently booed at the UN poverty summit for his mincing defense of an absent president's policies.

Ashcroft, as most predicted, remains an egocentric lunatic. Even Republicans have criticized and subpoenaed this dour secretive autocrat. The Bush administration still consistently rejects treaties and matters of grave international accord. The EPA ruled that our chemical weapons used in the Colombian Civil War on Drugs do in fact poison people and water. Jesse Helms, staunch skeptic of the Negro's equality, will retire from Congress with honors, and Katherine Harris will join the club, with no help from the black voters whose disfranchisement she organized in November 2000.

Above all, when it comes to evils like the impertinent Little War That Could, this Iraq vendetta-which is about removing a nuisance and making money, not making anybody any safer, you should understand - everything remains status quo. Though the people oppose it, they will make us murder our helpless neighbors for false reasons, again.

Nate Arthur

Computer Operator for Knoxville's Infrastructure

It was last September when I realized just how much I loved the U.S.A. It was not that day that everyone thinks of upon hearing "last September" but a day much different. September 1, 2001 brought my journey across the country to a remote South Dakota mountain - Rushmore.

I had seen plenty of this country's wonders - rock formations of the Colorado Plateau, dinosaur bones fossilized in a hillside, the geologic wonders of the Yellowstone and our nation's breadbasket. But none were more moving than standing on the observation platform and feeling the moisture in my eyes collect as I gazed upon four faces that shaped this country. I realized that not everyone is lucky enough to see the wonders of this country, and I was extremely lucky to do as such.

Less than two weeks later, someone who does not appreciate the beauty that America beholds places our land under attack. I learned of this second-hand, for I was living and working in the woods of Vermont. I began witnessing a transformation of ho-hum lifestyles into now patriotic exemplary as people began coming to my previous realization: they are lucky to live in this wonderful country.

Adam Throckmorton

Graduate Student in Communications

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