In the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks, UB demonstrated itself as a strong, compassionate community united in support of its troubled students. Counselors, religious leaders and volunteers, coordinated by the Office of Student Affairs, pulled together a NYC/DC Response Center in room 210 of the Student Union. The Office of Student Unions and Activities tuned the union's television sets and theater to the unfolding coverage of the disaster.
UB President Greiner declared "the rest of the day a day of mourning and memorial for the victims," and UB closed under the order of Gov. George E. Pataki. Services, vigils and memorials were held by nearly every religious organization on campus. All athletic events and Fall Fest have been postponed in the spirit of solemn remembrance and mourning.
Mourning is the first step of the healing process. Many students, faculty and staff are now grieving, and those of us who have not personally suffered a loss need to be sensitive of the fact that there are people around who have and that we as a nation are all impacted by Tuesday's devastation. With that said, we must move forward.
The goal of a terrorist attack is to terrorize people. Destroying our sense of security and safety were chief goals of those who demolished the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. They want us to fear going to work; they want us to fear air travel; they aimed to deal a serious blow to our economy.
We must all work together to fight this attack in particular and terrorism in general. For many of us it will be difficult, but we need to return to normalcy: return to our classes, our jobs, our lives. We must remain aware of the emotions this attack has instilled in us and we must act without regard for them. We must not let terrorism prevail.
Even though we have suffered the largest terrorist attack in history, the U.S. remains one of the safest societies on the globe.
Truly, it is foolish to fear air travel. Although on Tuesday morning four airplanes were hijacked, each day there are 35,000 to 40,000 American commercial jet flights, roughly 13 million per year. The last time Americans were involved in an aircraft hijacking was in 1988, on a flight that departed from London. Hijackings are, and will continue to be, highly anomalous.
Although the U.S. government is considering this attack "an act of war," it is highly unlikely that the people who committed this are capable of another, especially in the face of our military response.
Let's fight back. Raise a flag to America. We must not forget those we have lost in this atrocity, and we must vehemently discourage further attacks. Challenge vigorously the threat we now face, both in the enemies who have struck us from afar and the damage we must repair from within. Appreciate how fortunate you are: your freedom, your loved ones, and the security you have as an American citizen, and ensure by your actions that this fortune will remain for years to come.