(This letter is a response to the 9/11 coverage in the Sept. 9 issue of The Murray State News)
This Sunday, our nation celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It is beyond belief 10 years have actually passed since we as a nation sat there, glued to our television screens, watching history unfold minute by minute. And then there were some of us who didn’t need a television screen. There are some of us who saw the horror. Some of us who felt the terror.
Murray State is home to a small group of north-easterners. There are 29 students here from the Tri-State region, which is New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. There are 27 students from the other locations of Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Although the nation as a whole was in grief after the attacks, that grief struck even harder in those states. These attacks were near our homes. Our firefighters and police were rushing to the areas hit, the F-16 fighter jets were doing fly-bys over our homes, and for some, news would reach home that a loved one was killed. In my hometown, more than 20 people died in the attacks. I should add I live only 15 miles from the city.
So when 9/11 is remembered there is a small moment when I revisit those frightening days. Although I did not lose anybody in the attacks, 9/11 is a powerful and sobering moment. It changed everything. As a kid growing up near New York City I saw the skyline, I saw the towers and knew they were there. And then they weren’t. Painful questions were asked by all of us, especially the most painful of all: Why?
And now I find myself writing, asking the same question. But not about the attacks. I feel that I have found the answers to that. What I ask is about this paper’s coverage of the 10th anniversary and how it was inadequate considering the event.
Furthermore, I have to level this criticism at Mr. Austin Ramsey, the news editor. Since the news page is his responsibility I think it would be safe to say that he is responsible for this lack of coverage.
To also clarify, Ms. Rachel Dickhoff’s testimony is fully accurate, as similar emotions swept across our region. Mr. Michael Bowman’s interview is extraordinary, and Ms. Haley Russell’s writing certainly does his story justice.
First, I was bothered by the lack of information on the new memorial that opened on Monday. Although the paper was released three days prior, the information about it was not a secret. It should have been discussed and I would not be surprised if most people outside of the immediate area were not aware of the progress of the whole site.
Second, the lack of other interviews. Yes, the interviews included worked. But what about the stories of other people? What about the student from California who woke up and started their day to the attacks on the TV? What about speaking with international students? The attack had an effect on their nations as well, directly or indirectly.
Which brings me to my third problem, which I found to be the most insulting. On page 3A, there was a small column titled “Inside the Story” which interviewed Muslim students on campus. It was a very interesting yet small piece. Why did you not send reporters to expand this article? It was revealing and refreshingly honest. It repeated the simple fact Muslims aren”t barbarians. They are regular people trying to get by, go to class and hang out with friends.
Why the news section did not elaborate on this is beyond me. Especially with all of the controversy over the various proposed mosques and the great deal of anti-sentiment toward our fellow Americans. One would think that there should be greater clarification of the issue.
They say if you forget the mistakes and problems of the past, you are bound to repeat them in the future. Not only do the historians and professors of this university have an obligation to teach, educate and inform people of the past, but so does the press.
A major anniversary of an event that changed modern America is news. So, Mr. Ramsey, report it and inform all of us so we don’t have to watch terror unfold ever again.
senior from Glen Rock, N.J.