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The Event that Will Define A Generation

Who could have imagined that such a horrible tragedy could happen on such a beautiful day? The pandemonium that unfolded before me on television sharply contradicted the cheerful weather streaming through my windows. Watching the repeated images of the explosions, crumbling buildings, and panicked crowds turned my stomach and gave me the chills, even though none of it seemed real. I had witnessed cultural icons destroyed on television before, only it happened in movies like Independence Day and AI. Whoever first said that life imitates art surely could not have meant this nightmare.

My thoughts were constantly with my little sister, a junior at NYU. Through a stroke of luck, I contacted her cell phone as she ran through Washington Square Park. Probably like most people, I spent the day with friends, hoping that this was just a bad dream. Only late in the evening did reality sink in. I locked myself in my room and listened to my favorite classical piece--Beethoven's 7th Symphony--because I couldn't bear to talk to anyone anymore. That night, I dreamed of friends who work for those companies whose offices and headquarters were destroyed. The following morning, I woke up momentarily happy about the sunshine peeking around my shade, until I remembered that the sun no longer shines for so many people.

Now, a few days after the event that will define my generation, I have begun to emerge from a quasi-catatonic state in which I simultaneously thought about both everything and nothing. My attention shifts from news broadcast to news broadcast, just like that of numerous other people. Although my mind craves a distraction from this disaster, I cannot pry my focus away from the news. I can only add my hopes to the millions of others that this will all be over as expeditiously as possible. Yet I cannot shake the fact that, September eleventh only catalyzed a precipitous descent into a dark, war-torn world.

-- Margaret Grillo,
a senior anthropology major in the College
and an intern at WXPN

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 4, September 18, 2001


September 18, 2001
Volume 48 Number 4

A $10 million gift to the Wharton School from alumnus Al West Jr. creates a Learning Lab.
The Penn community gathers to remember the thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks.
The Penn community reaches out to help the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the Blood Drives.
Penn Police take extra precautions to secure the campus.
Counseling services for Penn faculty, staff and their families as well as group counseling through the EAP are provided free of charge.
Recovering from trauma, loss and disasters is complex, as explained in a booklet from CAPS. Emergency consultations are available.
The SAS Symposium on Responding to Terrorism includes the views of five Penn faculty members who discuss the various considerations of responding to the recent attacks.
A Penn student who expressed her views on WXPN shares them.
The 9th Annual Penn Family Day is set for October 20 with food, football, face painting and fun at the University Museum.