CNM remembers September 11, 2001
CNM reflects with 10 year anniversary of terrorist attacks
By Nick Christian
The headline of the September 18 – September 25, 2001 CNM Chronicle –formerly the TVI Times- read “The World Braces for War.” Pictures of the fiery, fallen World Trade Center and alleged terrorists marred the cover. An article entitled “TVI Student Reaction to Terrorist Attack” were full of people speaking words like “Shock,” “Unbelievable,” and “Punish” also adorned the front page.
It has been close to 10 years since those events occurred. Countless people have been affected by September 11, 2001 and in remembrance of the fallen, various people throughout CNM talked about where they were the day the towers fell and how their lives have changed since.
CNM President Dr. Katharine Winograd was out on a run that morning.
“I had just gone out for a run with my dogs,” began Winograd. “I came in and turned on the television and watched the airplane fly in to the building. It had actually already happened but they were showing it over and over. I remember thinking I need to get my clothes on and get to CNM quickly.”
Winograd was not CNM’s president at the time, but she was part of the college’s executive committee. She said she knew there would be lots of issues around what to do about classes and what to do about staff.
“The safety and security of the faculty, staff and students was the most significant thing at that point.”
New Dean of the school of Communications, Humanities and Social Sciences Xeturah Woodley said she was asleep when the first plane hit.
“I remember my phone ringing over and over and over again, so I finally got up and asked ‘what, what is going on?’” said Woodley. “My sister was on the phone and she said ‘Turah, I need you to go turn on the tv, something is happening.’…so I went and turned on the tv with her on the phone and I remember thinking ‘oh my god.’ I was stunned.”
Woodley had a conference scheduled inside the World Trade Center a week after the terrorist attacks. The conference was moved to a different location within New York, so she ended up flying there a couple of days later. Woodley vividly recalled both the flight and the drive into the city.
“The planes started flying again and within two or three days of them flying again I was on a plane. I remember the anxiety and trepidation that was happening with the people that were on that flight,” began Woodley. “There was an airplane captain that was sitting a couple of rows ahead of me and everybody was nervous and on-edge. There was this little kid that started crying. The little kid said something about ‘what if something happens to us, what if something happens to us’ and this airline pilot – who was just a passenger, but he was in his uniform – got out of his seat and he turned around and he told that little kid ‘that nothing gonna happen to you while I’m on this plane.’
“And that put all of us at ease,” said Woodley. “We knew from him saying it and the way he was saying it that he was going to make sure that nothing happened to any of us.”
Initially Woodley said she was to stay at the Millennium, a hotel close to the World Trade Center, but when her conference was rescheduled her hotel was as well. However, according to Woodley, it was still close enough to ground zero for her to witness everything that came with the collapse.
“As we were getting closer and closer there were more of these white signs on the light posts and the walls. They were flyers, they looked like flyers that you would see anywhere,” said Woodley. “As we got closer and closer to the hotel there were more and more flyers. So when we got out of the airport shuttle I walked out and said ‘why are all these flyers here?’ They were flyers of people looking for their family members because it was still in the beginning of the week. They were still hoping that their family member would be there. There were flyers everywhere, that’s the thing I most remember about New York that week. There were all of these flyers everywhere because people were looking for their loved one.
“You never forget that.”
Current Dean of Students Rudy Garcia was getting dressed to go to work and had Good Morning America on during the day of the attack. He watched both towers get hit and eventually made his way into Montoya campus.
“I remember people kind of walking in shock, the hallways were crowded: they had put tv monitors in the hallways. People were just glued to all sorts of things. What’s interesting is that day was odd because I remember looking up in the sky and there were no planes anywhere.”
Garcia said he also had to fly soon after the attacks. He recalled not being afraid, but noticed that people were quieter than usual.
“People weren’t joking around like they usually do,” said Garcia. “I remember getting on the plane, you saw people tense, stressful. Flight attendants were somewhat stressful. You would hear a noise and people were looking around.”
Garcia said he remembered telling a colleague that the he thought the restrictions of travel and feelings of patriotism would be short lived and things would get back to the way they were. Looking back at it, he doesn’t think his life has changed much.
“When things like that happen you have a sense of sadness, but for me my philosophy has been no one is going to intimidate me and no one is going to scare me,” said Garcia. “I’m going to fly and I’m going to continue to fly. If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go. Really that is what terrorism is truly about, inciting a sense of fear in you.”
Many people saw Virginia Tech or Northern Illinois as having more of an impact on the security and attitudes within the college. Garcia noted that security at group events like graduation became more intensive after the attack and Winograd said the attack changed the country’s view on security.
“I think we have, unfortunately not only as an institution, but as a country have begun to think more and more about safety and security issues and worry about what might happen in ways that we never did as a country before.”