From the Archives: Wright State students respond to 9/11

The Wright State Guardian Newspaper published a series of stories the week after September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. Almost 20 years later we look back at the reactions, emotions and stories that were told in our community. Photos and stories collected from the Wright State University Archives.

Personal ties made attack on U.S. ‘unthinkable’

Josh Sweigart, News Editor

Many at Wright State were personally affected by live newscasts of attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, but for some who had family and friends in the area, the event felt much more real, according to Connie Steele, communications manager of the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Steele’s son, a former WSU student, was working at the Pentagon the day it was hit.

“It was unthinkable,” she said. “It hit really close to home.”

It wasn’t until 1 p.m. that she heard from him, but she had seen on the news that it wasn’t the area where he worked that was hit. “It’s not that I felt happy, but certainly a great sense of relief,” she said. Steele said the event has changed how safe she feels.

“Where else could you be safer than at the Pentagon?” she said.

Jessica Holt’s cousin worked across the street from the World Trade Center. Her cousin received cuts and bruises but was not seriously injured. She did, however, wander around New York dazed for hours, according to Holt, a political science major.

“It blew my freaking mind,” she said, “but at least my story is positive.”

Candice Cohen, a middle childhood education major, was at the dentist’s office when she saw that New York, where her father lives, had been attacked. “At first I didn’t understand what was happening, then I saw the second plane and I realized that it wasn’t an accident,” she said.

Cohen knew her father was not hurt, because he lives on Long Island, but she also has relatives that work in Manhattan. She and her mother tried calling New York, but couldn’t get through until almost 6 p.m. “Everyone was O.K.,” according to Cohen.


Indian student calls for peace, International students feeling American reaction

Stephanie Irwin, Editor-in-Chief

The same day the United States experienced terrorist attacks, WSU graduate student Tejdeep Singh Rattan was interrogated by shoppers at a nearby Meijer store.

“People were asking me where I was from, what my nationality was,” said Rattan, an Indian Sikh who has lived in the U.S. for six years and is an American citizen.

“No one really asked me that until now. What could I say? It made me really mad,” he said.

Since the terrorist incidents in New York City and at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Sept. 12, there have been reports of Islamic Americans living in the U.S. fearing potential retaliation to the events.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions about the source of the attacks,” said Mohamed Al-I lamdani of he Commuter Student Association and cultural arts chair of the Union Activities Board, who said he wasn’t worried yet about any retaliation on campus.

“I have cousins and friends who feel like they are being stared at,” said Rattan. “I know there is some discomfort here,” said Melissa Giles Markland, associate director for residence life, last week after Tuesday’s tragedies. “I think it’s having an impact—I do think they (international students) feel like they’re being targeted,” she said.

Rattan said he has been nervous since the attacks because he is afraid of “people being ignorant.”

“People don’t know what Arabs are,” he said. “Having a turban and wearing a beard doesn’t mean I’m Arabic.”

Rattan is Sikh, a religion founded over 500 years ago that now has a following of more than 20 million people worldwide and is ranked as the world’s 5th largest religion. His physical characteristics, he said, causes students like him “to be easily mistaken for people with other religious background, and (we) unwittingly fall victim to hatred and violence. “This is an important issue for us to address right now,” said Rattan.

“I want people in Dayton to be aware of the differences, and to tell them not to react,” he said. “Let’s remind everyone that people here were not involved in the New York incidences,” said AlHamdani. “Let’s pray for peace,” said Rattan


Letter to the Editor:

I am an American, like you

Do not judge me by my dress; you may be mistaken Just as the rest of the world, I was stunned and appalled by the terrorist attack on America last Tuesday.

To my knowledge, never has a group of innocent Americans been subjected to such blatant injustice, nor have we ever been exposed to such cowardice.

I am a Sikh-American.

I am of South Asian descent but was born and raised here in the United States of America. As per my faith, I am required to wear a turban and beard much like that of Osama bin laden. Not surprisingly, people from my faith are regularly confused to be Muslim. In fact, we are the only group in the U.S. which wears a turban.

Because of our appearance, we have taken a great deal of abuse since the terrorist attacks. Sikhs are being threatened and abused.

Sikh Gurdwaras (places of worship) and our businesses are being vandalized and set on fire. Recently, a Sikh man fell victim to a hate crime in Mesa, Arizona. He was unjustly shot and killed while working.

Because of the backlash Sikhs have experienced, there is a unique understanding and sorrow in sharing the pain felt for fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who are also being targeted. it is VERY important to make the distinction that the individuals involved in these terrorist attacks are exactly that—individuals, not an entire religion. They are not Muslims. They are merely fanatics who commit atrocities under the shield of religion.

Sadly, we believe their claims of being Muslim and thus react to them in anger. Just as Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of Oklahoma City didn’t reflect directly upon Christians, so should this not reflect upon Muslims.

The beauty of America is that we are accepting of people of all walks of life, faiths, and cultures. The very essence of American history is embedded with a melting pot of wonderful faiths. Let us not allow a few fanatical terrorists to steal that previous American beauty for if they do, they will succeed in taking away everything that we stand for. It is our collective responsibility to keep our streets safe and to make sure all faiths have the freedom to walk unafraid. Don’t let me be afraid to walk about freely in public.

I am an American, don’t let them take my freedom. Many will think it’s trivial to talk of this now, but alas the world is continuing, as indeed life always does in the face of any catastrophe. Many have been taken away so cruelly from our sights, for those of us who remain, there now lies the responsibility of building the whole concept of living without fear once again. My heartfelt condolences for you and any of your friends who may have been affected by the pain that has been afflicted on our country and its people.

God bless you.

Baljinder Singh Bathla, Senior, Medical Student


 

All WSU athletics canceled over weekend Student-athletes share different feelings about unexpected break

Jennifer Martin, Staff Writer

Wright State’s Athletic Director Mike Cusack announced Thursday afternoon that all the weekend athletic events would be cancelled or postponed due to the tragic events that occurred in our nation.

“All of our decisions have been based upon how best to show our respect for the victims,” said Cusack.

According to the Raider list serve posted by Matt Zircher. “It has been said that games are trivial when compared to a tragedy such as this and that is true.

For our student athletes however, sports are an important part of their lives and it is precisely because of that importance that we felt the sacrifice of not playing would be the strongest sign of our respect it that we would make.” Not only were the games canceled, team practices were cancelled throughout the week as well.

Several student-athletes shared their views regarding their break from their normal routine of practice and competition.

“It was good to take a time out to show respect,” said Beth Rohler of the cross country team.

The cross county invitational at Bowling Green was still held but the Raiders did not compete.

“It was an important cc meet for us to run because it was a fast course it would have helped us out a lot, it would have boasted team confidence,” senior Kevin Lammers said. “From an athletic perspective it hurt us, but for the most part, for the country, it was good that we cancelled, so people can take time and realize what’s going on.”

The men’s soccer team pushed their game against Dayton back to Monday night. night. The game ended in a tie after two overtime sudden death periods.

The team was affected by the days of practice missed and the last minute rescheduling.

Senior soccer player Travis Sobers said, “We were ready for the game on Saturday, we were not physically prepared for Monday night because of the canceled practices.”

The women’s soccer game against Dayton that was scheduled for Friday has been postponed and whether it will be made up has yet to be determined. Freshman Tiffany Bogolo said, “It was one of our biggest games, UD is a midtown rival, and we were all excited to play against them so it was disappointing.” Sunday’s game against Bowling Green will be made up on October 9.

The women’s volleyball team preseason trip to James Madison, where they were to compete in three preseason games was canceled and will not be made up. The women’s volleyball team played Tuesday against Dayton, but the results were not released in time to make the press.

The women tennis team was set to open its season on Saturday at home against Ohio Dominican, but that match will be rescheduled for a later date. The golf team was also set to open its season at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa, but will not make the trip. Instead they will open with the Ball State Invitational September 22-23.