I was asleep when reports of the first attack on the Twin Towers came in. First the phone rang, then my 12-year-old daughter – who was up at the crack of dawn getting ready to meet the early bus that ferried a small group of advanced math students to middle school at O’dark-thirty – burst into my bedroom.
“Courtney says a plane just hit the World Trade Center!”
I wasn’t sure my girl even knew what or where the Trade Center was, and Courtney was not the most reliable source. I sat up and rubbed my eyes.
“A plane didn’t hit the World Trade Center,” I said, getting out of bed. “And if it did, it would be on the news.”
At which point, the young one turned on the television and we stared at the smoke billowing from the first tower and then, horrifically enough, saw the second plane hit the second tower.
Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard about the terrorist attacks, when a day in early September 2001 split time in half and a date – 9/11 – became, within 24 hours, a date that would never need the year behind it again. It’s been 10 years since the nation rallied together and accepted things like stripping down at airports and spending trillions of dollars invading other countries in the hopes protecting freedom and liberating a people I’m not so sure wants liberating.
We’ve changed, as people and as a country, and starting last week, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the UA has sponsored a bunch of events examining just exactly how deep and wide that change is. 9/11 Week: How We’ve Changed is part of Tucson Remembers 9/11 events, and if you’ve missed (or didn’t know about) the first lecture and panel discussion that happened last week, there’s a few more to come. Full details of the SBS events are here, but here are three in brief:
Wed., Sept. 7, 6 p.m.; panel discussion: “What does it mean to be Post-9/11? Politics, War and Security”; UA Education Bldg, Room 211 (Kiva Auditorium)
Thurs., Sept. 8, 6 p.m., panel discussion: “What does it mean to be Post-9/11? Media, Privacy and Community”; UA Education Bldg, Room 211 (Kiva Auditorium)
Sat., Sept. 10, 3 p.m., book event: “Once in a Promised Land”; discussion led by author Laila Halaby; Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., Lower Level Meeting Room
There’s also a concert at Centennial Hall and a documentary movie about the lives of victims of the 9/11 tragedy, both on Sunday, Sept. 11, but the three events above are designed to have the community join together in discussion about the changes we’ve allowed (accepted? encouraged?) in our country since that fateful day, for good or ill. They are reflective, and feature some of UA’s top scholars. In spite of competing with the planned Presidential address and the start of the NFL season, everyone should consider expanding his or her mind a little by attending one of the events above. After all, there’s always TiVo.