September 11 was a sunny late-summer morning in Chicago’s west suburbs. On my way to teach my 1st class, I turned on my car radio just as the 1st plane struck the Tower. Incredibly, reports from the local news stations seemed stupidly confused and contradictory, as if unable to grasp the reality of what was happening, the announcers appeared clearly out-of-their-depth.
By the time I reached the university, everyone had crowded around TV screens in the hallway, lounge areas, and in the cafeteria, all watching in stunned silence while the 1st Tower burned. Over the public address system an announcement came that all classes were cancelled for the day. I bought a coffee and sat down at an empty table. My hand was shaking. A male student, whom I didn’t know, sat down beside me. His face was ashen. “It’s the beginning of World War III”, he said somberly, “It’s our Pearl Harbor.” I nodded, and we both watched the coverage in silence. The 1st Tower collapsed a few minutes later.