A reflection of the campus on 9/11/02

There is a hollow cleft in the sound of students’ laughter, an empty

dissonance that screams across the quad. Young lovers do not gaze

restlessly into each other’s eyes, as is common, but languidly stroll

along the lanes, leaning their heads against one another and

watching the grass as it passes. A year ago, a Frisbee flung through

the air came to rest, ignored, in that fruitful grass. A year already?

Has it been so long? And just yesterday the sounds were brimming.

The campus is still the campus, but it is not the same campus. It is a

wasteland now, a place where lost souls stalk cold metal rooms in

search of a way out. In one’s and two’s they come, meandering from

stark emptiness to stark emptiness, passing in and out of cast iron

skeletons, tightly clutching books and packs, exchanging only the

swiftest and most impersonal glances with strangers. Where jackets

and flowers once lay is only lonely dirt, scorched beneath an

indifferent sun. Nausea permeates through everything as far as the

eye can see. Classes go on as usual, but the lessons seem distant,

alien. Nothing is learned today. Students and teachers alike want

only to go back to their beds and disappear, emerging tomorrow as

though today never occurred.

The wine that once filled coffee cups has turned to vinegar once

again. Tongues once acclimated to the bitter taste have become far

too jaded to accept the change again with anything but mournful

revulsion. What need is there to continue sipping of the past, we


What happened to this place? Some say it was meant to be this way,

that is had to happen. Others, that our world was an illusion born out

of pride and immodesty. Still others blame wind and sand, their tears

sent to burn the pages of one man’s faith. On the television they

gather together, holding hands and crying with roses clutched in

their hands.

What do we do now? Are we to sit and watch as death undoes us

all? It is all too common. What lives must die, yes, but not while still

breathing. A hundred years from now, how will our world sound?

*This was an online opinion from Jonathan M. Cook