I was a 54-year-old undergraduate student in the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh on 11 September 2001. I walked to campus only to find the Cathedral of Learning, where my first class of the day was to be held, empty. (I don’t remember when I found out why it was empty.) Like a lot of students over 21 years of age, I ended up at one of the many bars around campus. People, mainly students, were six deep at the bar.
In my memory, there was very little talking for so many people. The bartenders were overwhelmed, but I don’t remember any complaining. We all just stared at the television screens where the planes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers and the towers collapsed over and over and over and over and over and over and over…
I do remember thinking, this must be a little of what Pearl Harbor felt like.
And being a Vietnam veteran, I felt responsible for the disaster in some crazy sort of way. The military had let the country down.
Of course, I wasn’t thinking very clearly, but that’s what 9/11 was like for the Old Soldier.