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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies feel impact of attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Morriss Hurt, a former student, is an investment banker in New York. He took his usual route to work on Sept. 11 and at 8:45 a.m., as he drove past the World Trade Center towers, he heard a tremendous explosion. Looking up, he saw a huge fireball, falling glass, smoke and steel. He said it was mass confusion, with car alarms sounding, disoriented people emerging from the blast and others running for their lives as the debris rained down. In shock, Hurt ran under nearby scaffolding and saw a horrendous sight ? a bleeding man with burns desperately needed help, so Hurt called for medical attention.
?The most touching thing was a photo of masses of people in an emergency stairway evacuating the building,? Hurt said. ?A lone fireman headed the opposite direction up the stairs. A selfless act of immeasurable courage that presumably cost him his life. It puts a lump in your throat. They are true heroes.?
He said his apartment was near the World Trade Center, and he is not able to move back in yet. Hurt described the atmosphere as a war zone. He said things are returning to some degree of normalcy on the surface, with people back at work and cabbies honking their horns again. But Hurt said if you dig a little deeper, things are anything but normal. He said he uses his faith as a comfort.
?As a Christian, my faith in God has been my bedrock foundation of strength and comfort during this time,? Hurt said. ?He has been my mighty fortress and my refuge. In contrast to the evil we saw on Sept. 11, we have seen the depths of love, sacrifice and beauty. It?s hard to communicate the despair among those that lost someone. Each one of those 6,000 people had a family, friends and loved ones. It?s really heart-wrenching to see for yourself.?
Steve Rodriguez, a recent graduate of Texas A&M, works at the Pentagon for the Anti-Terrorism team in Washington, D.C. When Bonfire fell, he came close to fatality and recently had another near-death experience. He said all of his co-workers on the side of the impact were killed. Rodriguez compared the ensuing days to images from a Hollywood movie.
?The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming … similar to my experience at the A&M Bonfire collapse,? Rodriguez said. ?As was then, Aggies and t-sips joining hands … this tragedy has seen Republicans and Democrats unite. This entire experience has left me struggling to cope with the enormity of these actions. Ilost relatives and friends in the WTC (World Trade Center) attack and at times feel alone in my pain. However, sharing the promises of God along with a nation united in its desire to be free have helped me cope with this loss. We will overcome despair and renew America … one nation under God.?
Tom Burdenski, a psychology intern at Student Counseling Services (SCS) said SCS is starting a group for students who will experience long-term trauma.
?A lot of people are aware that our world is changing, but they?re not sure how or what it means for them,? Burdenski said.
?This affects all areas of students? lives. I met with Islamic students and they are concerned for their religion. They are worried about going in public wearing the veils. Guilt by association is a major concern,? Burdenski said.
For Michael Schmidt, a senior civil engineering major, President Bush?s leadership comforts him. ?When I walked through the George Bush Library after the tragedy, it gave me reverence for the entire Bush family,? Schmidt said. ?The library helps you realize the importance of having a strong leader.? Waking up on what seemed to be a normal morning, Lindsay Manford, a senior English major, stumbled into her living room. Manford heard the news and immediately called her dad because he flies to New York and Washington, D.C., regularly. She did not get a response until later that day when her dad called from a hotel next to the Pentagon, relaying the information that his best friend, Jim, who Manford is very close to, was on the 66th floor of the second tower. Jim was eating breakfast when he stared out his window in disbelief to see it with his own eyes. With adrenaline pumping, he sprinted down the stairs realizing that the fruit at breakfast could have been his last meal. As he reached the 30th floor, the second plane hit, and eventually, he stumbled out. Manford said everyone reunited, and it is amazing that they are alive and can be with the ones they love. ?It was hard to get back to my schedule. I don?t like to lose touch with what is going on because that?s the only way you can be with the people who are hurting,? Manford said. ?We have to go on and show them they can?t hurt the United States.?

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