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Remembering 9/11

Schedule of Events

Thursday, Sept. 8
A moment of silence will be observed at the 11 a.m. chapel service in memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Rory Stauber, ONU’s interim chaplain, has written a topic-appropriate litany that will be read responsively as a part of the service.

Sunday, Sept. 11
The ONU Chapel, the Ada First United Methodist Church, the Ada Presbyterian Church, Ada’s St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the Ada Disciples of Christ Church all will ring their church bells at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:38 a.m., and 10:03 a.m. There will be four sets of four rings to mark the four plane crashes that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. A moment of silence observed by the 300 participants of the noon sorority bid day meeting in the ONU Field House.

Thursday, Sept. 15
The observances will conclude with the annual Constitution Day program in the Dicke Forum at 7 p.m.

Ten years after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we look back to Ohio Northern that day. The following memories were graciously contributed by members of the ONU community who invite you to reflect on that unforgettable day in our nation's history.

As you know, Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The editorial that was published in The New York Times on September 12, 2001 said what everyone intuitively knew, "It was one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as 'before' and 'after.'"

We all remember exactly where we were when we first learned about the horrible consequences of the plane crashes and the ensuing tragedy of death and destruction that marked the lives of those who were directly affected. I learned a few days later that a colleague from the University of New Hampshire where I had worked — Robert LeBlanc, professor emeritus of geography — was on board United Flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center. Read more

—President Daniel A. DiBiasio

What can I say about that day? Two impressions stand out immediately:  The emotions — surprise, shock, disbelief — and an instant concern about the safety and welfare of our students and campus community. ... There was absolutely no way to know how pervasive or far reaching the events portrayed on television were being perpetrated. We needed, therefore, to worry about our own population of approximately 4,000 people! Hence, we called an immediate Cabinet meeting. ... After the meeting, we ate lunch in the cafeteria and responded to student, faculty and staff concerns and questions for hours. 

Overall, I think it's fair to say that though deeply, deeply disturbed by what had happened and what it potentially portended, ONU succeeded in focusing attention on the safety and security of the campus and the maintenance of calm. Above all else, this was a tremendous credit to the extraordinary leadership of our students, faculty and staff. Read more

—Dr. Kendall Baker
ONU President 1999 - 2011

ImageI was in President Baker's office as the events of  9/11 unfolded. I had a regularly scheduled meeting with him to discuss matters dealing with the Student Body, as I was the Student Senate President at that time. As I was sitting there, we heard the news. It was devastating. ... I called my parents immediately on a landline and informed them that I was safe and would be fine as the University had a plan implemented. I remember Dr. Baker telling my mother that he would keep me safe. Read more

—Tonya Hunter, BS ’02, JD 05

I was doing laundry when it happened. A friend of mine pulled me into his room and we watched it happen. Later, I remember walking back to my room, watching the sky the whole time. After I got back, my roommates and I just sat there for hours, not saying a word.

—Nicolette (Ryan) Winner, BA 02

It was my senior year and I was eating breakfast and watching "The Today Show" before my first class. The first plane had just crashed and at that time they still thought it was an accident. I went to class and someone had turned on the TVs in the classroom and everyone just watched in silence. We were all stunned and not sure what was going on. Our professor came in and turned the TVs off and held class as if nothing had happened. I learned afterward that the towers crumbled while I was in class. I remember everyone was in a state of shock throughout the day. I think everyone just wanted to be with friends and we were all glued to TVs, watching to try and understand what had happened.

—Julie (Walerius) Kreakie, BS 02

My morning began with my 13-day-old son waking me up. I dressed and fed him then turned on the TV. Every station had breaking news of fire and smoke coming out of the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. As I watched the live video of the twin towers and saw people falling from the windows, my brain couldn't process what was happening. I remember looking down at my newborn son’s face in shock. All I felt was guilt that I had just brought this little life into a world that suddenly felt turned upside down. I worried for his future and how that day would affect his life.

I woke up that morning in complete happiness, a new mother looking forward to the beautiful fall day. I went to sleep afraid for my family and shocked and saddened by all the lives lost —the men, women and innocent little children.

Toma (Grothous) Williams, BFA 96
ONU Associate Director of Art and Design

I was actually vacationing in New York, little less then two weeks before the tragedy of 9/11. My father had friends in the city, and we had actually had dinner in the North Tower before we had left. It was about noon of September 11th when my father turned on the television, and we saw what was happening there. I just remember being so scared about what was happening, because New York is so similar to many of the large cities of the world, like Tokyo where I live, and it was just shocking how brutal a terrorist attack could be.

Saori Yokoo
International Theatre Production Major

Well, the attack happened when I was just starting my second week at Ohio Northern as a freshman broadcasting major. It was very interesting to be a freshman during this time, because not only was I trying to get adjusted to campus life in general, but campus life that day was so different: professors were canceling classes, everyone was trying to call home and people were just trying to deal with what was going on in the country. 

Something good that came about in the aftermath of the tragedy was that students here on campus, and really the entire nation, started to realize how important unity was, how important it was to be unified not only as a community but as a nation. It had been so long since something had happened that hit home per say, and it helped everybody realize that we really are all in this together and just need to help each other.

—Nichole (Weitz) Tebbe, BA 05
WONB Station Manager

My personal experience with the 9/11 tragedy was a little different. I had gone to Wal-Mart in Lima to pick up school supplies and things for the new school year, and they had the bank of televisions there where I saw the second plane hit the tower on about 25 television sets with the other people in the store, which was quite an emotional experience. 

But the most significant thing that I remember about the events of 9/11 actually came later on in March of that year. I took a group of students to a conference in New York City, and the day that we arrived, was the day which President Bush declared war on Iraq. As a result, we had to go through many different security checks just to get into the city. What I thought was interesting for the students I had with me, was that when we had gone down to Times Square the area was just filled with marches and protests against the war. We didn’t get to go down to the site, because it was still blocked off with recovery efforts.

—William O’Connell
Associate Professor of Journalism