Professor reflects on the class that required no words … just presence
September 08, 2021
September 08, 2021
Something had happened in New York, and it wasn’t clear what.
“A plane has hit the World Trade Center” was all that I heard.
I walked into the classroom — a small screening room that seats only 25 — and greeted my students.
They had not heard anything more than “a plane hit a New York building.”
We were scheduled to watch a film that morning. I cannot now recall which one. Instead, I switched the input to a New York City network (NBC, I believe) and we just sat silently and watched.
No one talked. No one moved.
After the first tower collapsed, a few shocked gasps could be heard.
I told the students that they could leave whenever they wished. Almost no one did. We sat there for two more hours just mesmerized in shock and grief. At about 12:30, I walked out of the dark room and into the lobby.
Fewer people were there now. I walked outside and looked across the Quad at the flagpole. The flag was still flying at full staff.
It would not be like that for another month.
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