Based on my journal entry from September 2001…
I was a junior at the University of Missouri. I had just moved into a new apartment on the edge of campus, and I didn’t have cable yet, and my TV didn’t get reception. So my only connection with the outside world was my AOL dial-up. Before my first class of the day, I logged on to check my email. The headline caught my eye. “America Under Attack.” It had a picture of the World Trade Center in flames.
I didn’t have time to get all the information I wanted, I had to go to class. My Chemistry class had a test scheduled for the next day. The professor offered to move the test to Friday, so we could spend the evening watching the news, instead of studying. We needed a unanimous vote to move the test. One guy voted against.
After class, I walked into the Gillett/Hudson (dorm) lounge to use a computer. There were probably 20 people gathered around the big screen TV. The internet was down, so I abandoned the computer and joined the group. Some were standing some were sitting, all eyes glued to the screen. No one talked. They didn’t make comments or snide remarks, as college students are so prone to doing. And as other people walked into the room, some headed directly for the TV, while others seemed to be surprised to see so many watching it. I saw some people peek in curiously, to see what we were all watching. They would see the burning towers on the screen, and I could see their faces as they realized there was something serious going on. That’s where I first saw the towers crumbling.
I made some effort to study. I went to my boyfriend’s room to study there. The lounge on his dorm floor was full of people gathered around the TV. I assume it was like that in every lounge on campus. In his room, he was flipping through channels to see what kind of coverage each channel offered. We were shocked to see that even MTV, VH1, and CMT were broadcasting news instead of music. Very few channels in the wide repertoire of the dorm cable system were not showing news. Comedy Central still had it’s regular programming running. The Three Stooges.
While I was there, trying to study, but my eyes compulsively drawn to the TV, we got a phone call from a member of our on-campus church. Every Christian group on campus wanted to have a prayer meeting, so we were all going to meet together on Lowry Mall for a vigil.
Before the vigil, Chris and I tore ourselves away from the TV long enough to get dinner at the dining hall. Even in there, instead of music on the soundsystem, there was news.
We went to the prayer vigil at 7pm. It was an amazing time, with a huge number of people, students, pastors, and professors. We sang several worship songs, then broke into small groups in order to talk about the days events, and our feelings.
Then we were given topics to pray about. Powerful prayers went up. Shaky prayers. Tearful prayers.
A man gave a testimony to the whole group. He had been born in Saigon, Vietnam, but his family decided to leave the country during the Vietnam war. The day after his family left, Saigon was bombed. Many people died. They arrived in the United States, and began to put their lives back together. They heard about Jesus. Now, the whole family is Christian. He told us that out of terrible events, good things can happen. How what Satan plans to hurt us, God can use to save us. It was powerful.
Then, at the end of the vigil, we all prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. We spoke quietly, but it was strong. This prayer, so often recited without meaning, had a lot of meaning that day. We were united in the fervency of our prayers.