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Ten Years Later

Throughout college I set my alarm to the most annoying radio program I could think of, to ensure that I would wake up in time for class. A local Chicago sports talk radio program greeted me every morning for several years.

On September 11, 2001, a mere three weeks after arriving at North Park University for my freshman year of college, I woke up to this same station, but could not immediately understand what the commentators were saying. Confusion — the driving emotion of the day — had already set in, and I could not make sense of the announcement that the World Trade Center was under attack or that it seemed the Pentagon might also be a target. The events of the morning were just beginning; how could I possibly have known that the very tenor of American life and culture was also entering a new era?

I spent that day crowded around a 13-inch television screen with several other young women, watching silently as tragedy consumed the world that we knew. To a Midwestern girl new to the big city, chaos appeared to reign supreme. Classes were cancelled; commuters were unable to get into the city. Talk of evacuation and city emergency plans filled the radio and news channels. It seemed that we could do little but watch Peter Jennings tell us what was going on in the world and keep trying to call home to reassure our parents that we were safe. We were not even sure how to pray that day.

For better or for worse, now when I wake up to talk radio every morning I am greeted by news that is informed by September 11, 2001, including stories of war and conflict being related back to our now-common crisis day, and stories of Middle Eastern, African, Asian, and European lives that do not seem so far away. As a Christian, as an American, and as a global citizen I am hyper-aware of how the last 10 years are markedly different from the 10 that came before. I am certain that the next 10 hold events, plans, and people I cannot now imagine.

Ten years later, I will again be on North Park’s campus on September 11, this time as a staff member and seminary student. I will not wake up in Anderson Hall, but I will wake up remembering that morning as if it were just yesterday. Instead of uncertainty and a sense that the trajectory of my world has just been altered, I will wake up and pray for our world that became much smaller on September 11, 2001.

Megan Gilmore
North Park University Class of 2005
University Marketing and Communications

Next Steps

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Megan Gilmore