Looking back on 9/11

This week’s cover story takes a look back at September 11th, with pieces from special contributors such as Student Body President Ancel Pratt and Boca Governor Michael Moore and FAU President Frank Brogan, who was with President Bush when the attacks occurred. Also included is coverage of the various memorials devoted to the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Reading these accounts soon after 9/11 reminds me of I how, at the time, I saw firsthand a different perspective-how the student media covered the events that unfolded. I hadn’t been working at the University Press for very long before 9/11, and I walked into the staff meeting that Friday bewildered as to just how we could possibly cover the events in any useful way. The national media had already faced a difficult battle in covering the event properly. Emotions ran high, and the media needed to be careful as to how they touched upon the sensitive issue.

At the UP, we decided to let each staff member write a small opinion piece about 9/11. Each staffer had his or her own ideas and opinions about the event-from how our government should respond to when, if ever, things would return to normal. I addressed the recent rise in discrimination against Muslims, and how hopefully FAU students would be wise enough to treat our substantial amount of Muslim students with respect and not use them as scapegoats for the rage that many people felt.

The cover of our September 11th issue was a picture of a female FAU student attending the candlelight vigil that was held on the Boca campus that week. We felt that the image perfectly captured the sadness that had come over FAU and we struggled to come up with a suitable headline to put into words what we all felt. Eventually we decided to run the cover without a headline, because the truth was that there were no words to describe it-the image said enough.

Oddly enough, I can’t seem to find a copy of that issue in our office or archives. I don’t know where they all went, but I think it would be interesting to look back and reflect on the way we as a student newspaper handled such a traumatic event. I would like to think that the issue was poignant and thought provoking, that we touched upon the feelings of confusion and despair that we all shared. I guess we’ll never know, but perhaps that is for the best-that issue was a reaction to a terrible event, and time lessens the overwhelming feelings that we had. It was needed at the moment, just for ourselves if not for the entire FAU community, and it’s best that we not go back and dissect it with the perspective we’ve gained since.