I was a vice principal in North Jersey. We were getting ready to have class assemblies to go over the usual school rules and regs. Pretty standard stuff. Then my secretary pushed her way through the crowd and said to me, "The towers are gone."
The look I gave her must have said, 'You're crazy", but I asked anyway. "What do you mean 'gone'?"
And they were.
Three years later, my youngest daughter was sitting in a class at the University of Tennessee. The topic of 9-11 came up, and students were saying what they were doing when they heard, the reaction in their school. And my daughter offered her recollections. "Well, kids were being called to the office, and they were trying to determine if their parents were okay." And her classmates looked at her and began to realize that this girl with the odd accent wasn't from Knoxville or the surrounding area.
Among all the Big Ten schools, only Maryland can acknowledge that same feeling that those at Rutgers had. It is just 27 miles in a straight line from Old Queens, Rutgers historic admin building, to Ground Zero. The distance from College Park to the Pentagon is only ten miles.
Hearing jets scrambling overhead. Being able to see the smoke from the sites. It's still there in my mind's eye, as clear as the sky that fateful Tuesday morning.
With everything that has happened at Rutgers lately, we almost forgot.
We do remember those who were murdered that day, and we honor those who ran to the danger and not away. We salute the first responders and we recognize those who, everyday, serve our country to protect us from harm.
God bless America!