Five years ago, our predecessors at The Torch were given the task of reporting on the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, and in particular on the World Trade Center.
While they approached the subject as any professional reporters would, they were only college students and were faced with a national tragedy the likes of which had not been seen since World War II.
Not only were the editors young, but being so close to Ground Zero both helped and hindered their work. The University’s location in New York City gave the student reporters access to resources that other college students would never have. The ability to get to the site and to share information and images with the metropolitan papers of New York allowed the editors a chance to do something not every college paper could.
However, the physical proximity to the site also made the situation that much more real to the editors. The tragedy at the World Trade Center was not something that happened in a far-away city; rather, it was something that happened literally right next door. And while the editors were safe in Queens, some of the fellow students were on the Manhattan campus, just inches away from the tragedy.
At the same time, the University lost 108 alumni in the World Trade Center that day. And as the newest generation of Red Stormers was learning how to deal with tragedy on such a large scale, the older generations were forced to remember past times of tragedy. The world had changed and everyone had to learn how to change with it.
Five years later, it is the media’s job as watchdogs to insure that the horrors of that day are never forgotten. It is especially important that the younger generation keep the events of Sept. 11 close to their hearts, for it is this generation that will be tasked with leading the nations of the world in the not-too-distant future.
As college newspaper editors, the members of The Torch are trying to do their part to make sure that Sept. 11 is not forgotten. At the same time, there is a message of hope in all of this.
Yes, thousands died that day in 2001. Yes, the events of Sept. 11 made people question their leaders, their faith, and the value of the human life. And yes, the world has changed infinitely in the years that have passed. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Five years later, people have healed, at least to some degree. No longer are terror warnings a daily concern. The colors yellow, orange and red no longer bring fear; they now draw forth images of coloring books rather than terror attacks. Flying, while still a frightening endeavor to some in light of recent events, has once again become a regular activity. And five years later, Ground Zero no longer brings tears to every set of eyes that look upon it.
Five years later, we see the promise of a brighter future. The Freedom Tower is under construction and expected to be completed by 2011. Other buildings for the site have been designed and are planned for the near future.
Five years later, we can see the clouds parting and the sun shining through, because now, five years later, there is hope.