Thinking back to 9/11

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The anniversary of the most terrible event in recent American history 9/11 happened last week. It took place 14 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University then and it taught me a very valuable lesson about journalism and life itself.

This is the first time I have shared how the day affected me, both personally and professionally and here is my story of the day. I remembered I had an 8 a.m. class then off to work an hour later, but I had no idea of what had happened until I got to Kroger. By then, all of my co-workers and customers who I saw on a regular basis were experiencing a wide range of emotions, because it was the first time our country was attacked on a grand scale since Pearl Harbor.

I had no idea what was taking place except what I heard from co-workers and guests telling me as they passed through my line with their groceries. I had not seen any footage by the time I left work late that afternoon.

Just a few days earlier I joined the staff at the MTSU Student Newspaper, Sidelines, and was working hard on a college football preview for the next issue. My first article was about the Sun Belt Conference that had earlier that summer become a Division I-A conference with schools, including MTSU, who had jumped earlier to the highest division in college football.

However, I was scheduled to help out in the office during production that evening. By the time, I arrived at the office and finally saw the footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center I was overcome by the same mix of emotions of anger and sadness not unlike like everyone else earlier in the day.

Of course, my college football preview article was scrapped and instead I helped the sports editor at the time put together a story about all of the different sporting events, which were either cancelled or postponed due to the horrible events of the day. It was a very important wake-up call on what the real world is really like, especially in journalism circles.

September 11, 2001 showed me a very important lesson both professionally and personally, which still affects me to this day. In retrospect on a professional level, I did not realize until later I was a part of putting together one of the top historical issues at the newspaper in recent history...and this on my first day on the job. However, on a personal level, it was one of the saddest days I had ever experienced up to that time in my life.
And it still lingers in my memory and will for years to come. Never forget!

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David Hunter column
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