Otterbein Campus Community Reflects on 9/11
Posted Sep 10, 2021
Twenty years ago, the events of 9/11 resulted in a shared trauma for the entire nation, with loss of lives and loss of a general sense of security. But it was also a moment when Americans came together, leaning on friends, families, and neighbors for support.
Otterbein’s community was no different. Members of our multi-generational community of teachers and learners from all over the country and world experienced the tragedy in different ways, but all responded with empathy and understanding.
Here are some reflections about 9/11 from Otterbein’s campus community.
Emma Urhammer ’23
Major: Public Relations
“What 9/11 means to me is a day to remember and mourn the ones we lost and the service members who gave their life to save others. On this sad day it is important to never forget how the United States of America banded together when threatened by terrorists. It is a day to honor the men and women in the armed forces who fight to keep our country free and safe. Never forget and never give up.”
Justin Carter ’21
Current MBA graduate student, expected to graduate in spring 2023.
“9/11 to me is a day to show empathy and compassion for those who lost loved ones, while cherishing the lives we live and the togetherness we spend with one another.”
Claire McCandlish ’22
“The United States changed on 9/11 in many ways. I believe that many Americans became more patriotic and aware that an attack could happen. I am grateful for the sacrifices service members make every day to keep our country safe.”
I hope we can remember that human kindness is so important. Kindness is something we can give every day not just for our own good, it’s for others and for us to work together as a group for society.”
Becky Smith ’81
Executive Assistant to the President
“When I think about and reflecting on 9/11/ 2001, I was the Campus Center director, and my administrative assistant had the radio on beside her computer, and she said there had been a bombing. At that point we went out into the Campus Center lounge and there were many students huddled around the big screen TV. The whole room was silent other than the television reporter speaking. After we watched the second airplane go into the tower, we knew that something was really, wrong. At this point the campus was just starting to stir. We didn’t cancel classes, but we used that moment as an opportunity for students and faculty to come together, be with each other, and discuss what had just happened. The Chapel was open for students, faculty, and the community to use. On campus that day, we huddled together, gathered, and supported one another. We cared for each other. This day turned our whole world upside down. It changed everything in the way that we look at who we are in the world. It changed the way we do things.
Director of Events and Conferences
“On the morning of 9/11/01, I was starting my first week of my sophomore year at Otterbein as a Resident Assistant in Mayne Hall. That morning I was awoken my one of my residents banging on my door to turn on my television. I turned it on and together we watched the second plane hit the second tower. At that time, I knew the world had changed; we knew it was no longer an accident. We were scared, we didn’t know what it meant and, very quickly, I had several residents in my room glued to the TV. I remember spending time on campus talking about what this meant for our world. We had a candlelight vigil and we came together as a campus and a community. I remember learning that members of the Westerville community went to New York to help and to give back in so many ways.
9/11 means a lot to me; I have really learned a lot because of the musical “Come from Away” produced by Otterbein Alumnus Randy Adams. The story of “Come from Away” is an inspiration of how the community of Gander, Newfoundland took care of the passengers on 38 planes that were diverted there. There is so much kindness that came out of such a tragedy. Our world came together in a way that it really had not before. Because out of tragedy, we came back stronger and kinder. We need to remember, reflect, and continue to be kind.”
Executive Director of Admission
“The day began like any other day as I prepared to visit four central Ohio high schools to meet and talk with students interested in pursuing an Otterbein education. My first visit was scheduled just after 9 a.m. When I walked into the office the first plane had already flown into the North Tower and the school office had all televisions tuned in to the news coverage. This was the first I had heard or seen the horrific images and at that point did not have an understanding why this had happened or that it was a planned attack on the United States. I knew the school counselor well and it was decided that we would move forward with the visit. The silence and concerned nature of the students that morning is a moment I will never forget. There was so much emotion amongst the students and comforting from all levels. Each visit became more somber as continued information was being released and the four planes had all crashed. I appreciate that I was able to continue to meet with students on this day and am pleased I was able to be a part of the support system that the schools were providing to their students on 9/11/2001. The pain our country shared will never leave me, but the resolve and support provided by our fellow citizens and beyond makes me proud to be a United States citizen.”
Senior Technology Specialist
“I was flowing through my day, attending to several tasks when a coworker rushed into my office, asking me to, “turn on the TV, a plane crashed into the building!” Even now it’s hard to think about what we saw and acknowledge the catastrophic damage which had to result from such an impact. Thoughts of human suffering, concern for my family in New York and New Jersey, and just a sense of helplessness left me speechless for several minutes. Since that day, I reflect on the mass casualties, the chaos caused by communication blackouts, the rapid grounding of all airplanes, the rushed appearance of American Flags everywhere, and the groundswell of distrust of anyone who “looked Muslim.” The Muslim faith is practiced by some members of my family as well as close friends. In the aftermath, I had constant concerns for their safety and general well-being. I’m still “processing” the massive hit to my senses, while recognizing the enormous impact the event had had on families around the country and indeed around the world.”
Jarod White ’22
Major: Public Relations
Minor: Film Studies
“9/11 was a really pivotal moment in our country. Even though I was only 2, I grew up always trying to remember all the lives lost and the resiliency that our country maintained to become stronger and hold each other close”