Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Inside our Pages: Sept. 11 changed America, GW

Last Thursday we gave you an extra crossword puzzle. This week it’s a whole extra section. While I’m sure that most students found time during class to complete both crosswords, I hope you take the time to read the eight-page issue looking back at Sept. 11.

It has been almost three months since the terrorist strikes, and GW looks pretty much like it did before. We came together to mourn, to stand out against prejudice in our own community, to help restore our normal lives, and then we moved on. While it is important to get back to routine without letting tragedy hamper our lives, it is also healthy to remember what happened and take away what we learned. Equally important is understanding the new world around us – one defined in terms of a largely undefined war and new insecurities.

Perhaps Sept. 11 only confirmed what we had always thought. We knew we were accepting, strong and resilient, but maybe we weren’t sure how much. We had never been tested. And now that we have endured, we can be proud.

There seems to be a common sentiment among GW staff members that this University is different. We’re in a city like no other, we have a unique mix of students, and we define the college experience in different terms than most. There seems to be some merit to those statements and that came out more than ever in the past three months.

GW students found everything they needed to deal with the Sept. 11 tragedy in their backyard. The mourning took place community-wide, the acceptance came through in subtle and overt ways, the patriotism showed in residence hall windows and the push to unify students to move on came from all sides. Beyond that, students found professors eager to hear their thoughts during class and panel discussions to expand their learning beyond the classroom.

These are important points to remember as we question ourselves in the future. Issues that seem unimportant in the wake of a national tragedy will slowly begin to win back their roles in our lives. And when they set us apart, we have the security of knowing we stand together when it matters most.

It is difficult to put in print how deeply the impact of Sept. 11 runs for GW. There have been no reported losses of immediate family of staff, faculty or students, but that is a difficult fact to substantiate. We do know there are many who avoided circumstances that could have put them in harm’s way. There have been no reported hate crimes on campus in the wake of Sept. 11, but there is no accounting for accusing stares or disparaging remarks.

The psychological effect of Sept. 11 on our community runs deep. Many New Yorkers returned home for Thanksgiving to a much different city. International students keep track of changes in federal law to see how closely they will be monitored. And all of us are adjusting to a country masking an unfamiliar feeling of vulnerability with rituals of strength.

People often draw comparisons between Sept. 11 and John F. Kennedy’s assassination. People will always remember where they were when they got news of both tragedies. After JFK’s death, a period of national mourning followed, security was re-examined and life went on. The same is true for Sept. 11, but with it comes a host of new lessons to take away.

-The writer, a senior majoring in journalism, is Hatchet editor in chief.

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