September 11 is one of those tragic dates when people can remember what they were doing when first hearing the news. Each person has a personal reflection on the day. If you weren’t alive or were young that day, you still may have insights about 9/11.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of this infamous day, Scalia Law School has created this message board for members of our community to share recollections and reflections, as we honor those lost that day, and as we honor our nation and the men and women who responded to the attacks.
Here is my recollection:
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting at the dean’s desk, at another law school, in the South, far removed from Wall Street. As I conducted my routine morning meetings, my attention was distracted by the small TV in my office.
The TV coverage first was of the World Trade Center soon after the plane flew into it.
Early in my legal career, I worked at a large New York firm, in walking distance to the World Trade Center, where one of our firm’s largest clients, the Lehman Brothers investment firm, had their home office. I had been to their office many times, and I could not believe my eyes as I watched the World Trade Center burn and ultimately crumble. I later learned that a law school classmate, at a business breakfast at the Windows of the World restaurant, had died in the attack.
As a native New Yorker who had been in that building, I personalized the emotion of the tragedy. The loss of life was gut wrenching; the attack on our great nation horrifying.
Soon, the TV coverage switched to the attack on the Pentagon, the operational and symbolic home of our nation’s defense. Again, I felt the mixed emotions of sadness and anger.
At the time, I was coaching our youngest son’s age-11 baseball team. We had a batting cage practice planned for the end of the day. I called the parents and asked if we should cancel or if the boys would feel better keeping their schedule and a place to share their thoughts. We were a close team, so we met, combining baseball with venting. I did my best to answer my little team’s questions, and we ended our practice with our heads bowed and our hands folded in prayer.
Allison and Dorothy Rouse Dean
GMU Foundation Professor of Law