Not an Ordinary Day

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Campus walkTwelve years ago, around 8:45 am, I entered the subway station on Broadway and 86th Street. A busy day lay ahead of me: an orientation meeting of the New York State Bar, followed by callback interviews for a summer job, then maybe class if I could make it back uptown in time. But when I emerged from the subway, the world had changed. As I started walking east on 23rd Street I was startled to find clusters of people standing still on the sidewalk, all facing the same direction, many with their mouths wide open. I turned to see what they were seeing, and gasped when I saw the two World Trade Center towers, a ring of smoke around them.

The aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks has given us lawyers a lot to chew on: two wars of debatable legality, Guantanamo Bay, and the precarious balance between civil rights and national security, to name just a few things. But today is for remembering. My thoughts are with those who died, those who were left behind, and those who so bravely stepped up on that day.

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2 Responses to “Not an Ordinary Day”

  1. I was working in DC at the time, and managed to make it all the way into work not noticing anything strange and still thinking only that a “small plane” had hit one of the WTC towers (which was the initial report — although I do recall thinking just before I turned off the TV that it was an awful lot of smoke for a Cessna). I arrived probably right around 10 a.m. I couldn’t understand why all my co-workers were freaking out and my relatives were all trying to reach me. In the days before smartphones, only a few people (not me) had Blackberries, and the cell phone networks were quickly overloaded — which meant that not only I, but everyone on the subway with me, probably had no idea what was going on.

  2. That tragic day was 12 years ago. A lot of our current students were just children then. For a take on a child’s view of 9/11, see http://law.marquette.edu/facultyblog/2011/09/10/a-child-remembers-911/.

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