I was getting ready for my early morning Spanish Lab at SMU (complaining the whole time). I sat down on the couch in my apartment to watch Good Morning America before heading out. I was drinking a cup of coffee and eating a pop-tart that promptly fell from my hand as I watched the plane crash into the tower. Not sure how long I sat stunned before calling my mom and telling her to turn on the TV. She was none too happy that I was waking her up but by that time it was obvious that America was under attack. I can remember saying those exact words to her as she was shocked into silence by what she saw as well.
I didn’t make it to Spanish Lab that day or any of my classes on campus. Every time I stepped away from the television something else happened. More planes were missing, more buildings were burning. The logic in me said it had nothing to do with my presence at the screen, yet I couldn’t pull myself away for fear I would return to another new tragedy. I lived near the airport and for the first time silence was all I heard in Dallas.
The next day back on campus there was a feeling of sadness and horror mixed with an unexpected unity that hadn’t been there before. SMU (just as the U.S. as a whole) banded together to comfort one another. Professors and students gathered in Hughs Trigg between every class to watch updates and even pray. And just as our country was separated between pre and post 9/11 for me so was SMU. I kept the student paper that next day to always remember how it felt to go back out into the world after it had changed so dramatically and how my feelings of fear and uncertainty morphed into courage and pride at our nation and our campus.