• Blue Wolf Penman

Remembering 9/11 - A Memory of Disbelief


I was taking a remedial Algebra course at Cleveland State University fifteen years ago, when the World Trade Buildings collapsed. A student left the classroom while the professor lectured. Upon the student’s return, he immediately collected his belongs, slid his notebooks into his backpack and departed the classroom without uttering a word. An eerie feeling came upon me and I too, left the classroom and walked the hallway. The silence felt oppressive. Other than myself, not one student roamed the halls, and somehow I knew something was indeed, wrong. I returned to the classroom and just as I closed the door behind me, across the intercom was announced that all classes were to be dismissed and those scheduled for the afternoon and evening cancelled.

Still unaware of what was happening, I left the main classroom building and trekked to the University Center and exited onto the corner of East 21st Street and Euclid Avenue. I found myself standing in the midst of chaos. Both students and faculty populated the streets. It was then that I heard a student ask someone on their cellphone: “Did you hear what happened? The World Trade Center has been bombed!” I was stunned at what I heard, and stood near the student in disbelief. Based upon the conversation, the student didn’t know more than the fact that the event occurred.


I wondered what it all meant for some of my immediate family members, because they frequented downtown Manhattan. Some were employed in the city. I dialed my mother’s telephone number from my cellphone and couldn’t secure a connection. So I decided to call her from work. I was working at a department store at the time and once I arrived, I attempted to call her from the employee phone. There was no connection even through the landline telephone. The small television screens in the employee’s breakroom provided some visual account of the devastation that occurred. And still, all that had transpired was unreal, as if watching an action-packed film. When I went to bed that night, I awoke several times, expecting to see the sky explode with fire. It took nearly two days to finally make contact with my mother.

I am certain the recollections of other people are more or less dismal. But “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” (“Come Ye Disconsalet”~ Thomas Moore, 1816). To the September 11, 2001 victims and their families, be encouraged and lifted up. God Bless!

#NewYorkCity #WorldTradeCenterAttack #September112001 #911

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