Chris Brogan posted a blog about his reflections on September 11th and how it affected him. His readers had a lot of comments on his personal opinion. Some folks did not smile upon his personal opinion and made it out like he was being selfish for sharing his personal experience.
September 11, 2001 changed my life forever. I was not “there.” I did not loose any close family members as a result of the day. However, I lost faith in many things and changed my life perspective entirely!
I was in Berea, Kentucky where I was then attending college on a $75,000 scholarship. I was in a Social Economics course (I was a sociology major) and we were focusing on consumerism. The television was playing in the next room and we HEARD the airplane hit the world trade center. Everyone in my class got up and ran to the television in shock. Our instructor had the nerve to say that there was nothing we could do about it, so we should return to our studies. We tried, but it was ineffective at best.
After classes were out for the day, I had to go to work in Richmond, Kentucky at the local Applebee’s as the fry cook. I remember walking into work and Bin Laden‘s picture was on every television screen, even though they were on different channels.
The following day on Berea College campus I remember sitting under a century-old-tree and writing in my journal about how everyone at school was going through the motions, but no one was present.
I was 715 miles away from home, without money or transportation and only wanted to be at home with those I loved. Uncertainly and lack of any security resonated through every fiber of my being and my life and I was not the only one, but we were all alone. Everyone to some degree felt as I did, but no one panicked. We were awakened nightly in our residential halls to fellow student’s having nightmares. The news was always on and everyone seemed to be waiting for salvation, yet it didn’t come.
My mother begged me to drop out of school and return home. But the sense of urgency that I felt and feeling that the life and place I was in, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the need to stay and honor my commitments ruled.
Systematically I began to fall apart. It only took from September 11th until February 1st for everything I lived, believed and thought to completely fall apart and fall away. During that time I took a stress test and the results were over 700! Needless to say by the end of winter term, I withdrew and returned to Arkansas to lick my wounds and put myself back together. When I tried to return to school, they would not consider me for re-admittance.
I moved back home and stayed with my mother for about 6 weeks and then moved to Fort Smith, AR, rented my own place and proceeded to start over from scratch. It took me three years to pay off Berea College to get my transcripts released so that I could go back to school. By then I was married, a wife and a mother.
It took 8 years, but I did what it took to finish both an associates and bachelors degree. Do I sometimes still wish that I had been able to stay at Berea College and graduated in 4 years with a bachelors degree? Yes.
But 9/11 showed me in a very real way that my wish was not what was important. Being the creme-de-la-creme of Berea College in Berea, KY was nothing compared to living an authentic life and surrounding myself with my friends, family and the people I love.
There is always more than one way to shoot for the stars and to achieve success. My life-long I have believed that success is the fulfillment of God-given potential. 9/11 taught me that only God knew how I would be successful.
** Please note that this article in no way reflects my personal opinions on the cause of September 11th, only that such an incident forever changed life in my country forever.
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