Sept. 11 still remembered by students and faculty

Sophomore Aaron Stringer saw the towers fall from half a world away.

“I was in France at the time, so I think my perspective on the event is a lot different from other people’s,” he said.

His most enduring memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, however, is of a people brought together over a city torn apart.

“It was just such a huge event all over the world…it was great to see the whole world come together, even if it didn’t last long,” he said.

Today, as classes continue and the Ute football team prepares for battle, the second anniversary of the turning point of a generation is subdued across campus.

“The administration is very much aware of this pivotal point in American history from two years ago, and we’re glad there are forums of discussion on this issue at the U,” said vice president of University Relations Fred Esplin.

Though candles may not dot the night sky outside of the Park Building as they did one year ago, the emotion and trauma might cast a pall on the day for some, and if it does, they have a place to turn, said U Counseling Center psychologist Lauren Weitzman.

“We see our role as being available for people to talk to, but we don’t want to be in their face,” she said.

Like many students across campus, U administrators are balancing remembrance with the passage of time.

“We’re delighted the U continues to be a place where the significance and meaning of the event can be discussed in a meaningful way,” Esplin said. In addition to the counseling services offered by the counseling center, four jets from Hill Air Force Base will fly over Rice-Eccles Stadium 15 minutes before the Utes’ kickoff against California.

A lecture at the Hinckley Institute of Politics and Grief Awareness Day round out the slate of events scheduled for today.

They are simple ceremonies that will give pause to everyday life, but not disrupt it. Senior Jaren Newbold said his emotions will mirror that philosophy.

“I imagine I’ll think about it a little more [today] than I would the rest of the year, but you can’t live in fear. I think there’s a possibility it could happen again, but I don’t worry about it,” he said.

Stringer says he feels much the same way. “We need to remember and respect what happened, but do our best to move on,” he said.

Weitzman advises students to know their limits, and to shun the media if they start feeling overwhelmed.

“I think the media is bound to have an impact, and it’s going to cause some distress for people,” she said.

The clinical definition is “anniversary reaction.” The National Mental Health Information Center defines it as an “individual’s response to unresolved grief resulting from significant losses.” But Stringer has a much simpler definition. “All people have to say is ‘9/11’, and there’s a sense of loss,” he said.

Out of every tragedy comes lessons learned and complacency lost, something senior Kathy Stretch said Americans all suffered first-hand. “I think the biggest thing about Sept. 11 for Americans was coming to grips with the real world…we’ve been in a bubble for a long time,” she said.

Newbold echoed those sentiments, but says he thinks added vigilance needs to be injected into the mix.

“I think people have a better understanding of what happened and why. It proved we were still vulnerable and needed to take precautions…It doesn’t seem there’s been a lot done internally to deal with fears people might have,” he said.

Weitzman said anniversaries of tragic events can trigger memories that may be difficult for some to cope with, but are natural reactions. “I know I’m going to have a very vivid memory of Sept. 11 tomorrow morning when I’m driving my son to school, because that’s when I found out about it. There’ll be a range of emotions that will vary across and within people,” she said. The counseling center is located in the Student Services Building in Room 426 and is open today until 5 p.m. It can also be reached by calling 581-6826 or by logging onto its Web site at www.saff.utah.edu/counsel.

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