MURRAY – Sept. 11, 2001, will be a date that many people will never forget. On this infamous day, 19 members from the terrorist group al-Qaida hijacked four planes and set course for the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and the White House or U.S. Capitol. Passengers aboard the third flight that was headed to Washington attempted to take back control of the plane and were able to divert the plane to a field in Pennsylvania.

While these events took place 20 years ago, it is still a strong and clear memory for many people. Professors at Murray State took the time to recollect what was happening in their lives and what they were doing on that tragic day. Dr. Ihsan Alkhatib, pre-law advisor and associate professor in legal studies, remembers that he was in Chicago with another lawyer and was about to talk with a client when he got a call from one of his sisters who lived in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) asking if he was safe. He said he had no idea what was going on until an officer told him that the country was under attack .

“We asked him (the officer) about the identity of the attackers and he said: Middle Eastern,” Alkhatib said. “We had wished they weren’t.”

Professors are not the only ones who remember 9/11, as students also took the time to think back on how it impacted them and their families. While the majority of the students at Murray State were either toddlers or not even born, they can recall how their families were affected. Kilee Roser, a student working in student affairs, was only three days old and just gotten home from the hospital. She said her mother was holding her and wondering what kind of world she brought a baby into. 

Older students that attend Murray State were able to recall what they were doing on that infamous day. One of those students, Johnathan Fritz, who is a senior from Murray, was sitting in Spanish class in middle school.

“The teacher just shut everything off and turned on the news and did not say anything for the rest of the class,” Fritz said. “My first thought was, ‘Why did the teacher put on this movie? It is not the beginning of the movie.’ I was completely shocked.”

When asked how this impacted him, he said it made him realize our freedom came with a price.

Graduate student Terry Nance was actually at Murray State waiting to talk to an advisor when she noticed the news. She said at first she had no idea what was going on or what happened.

“There was a weird feeling on campus after that,” Nance said. “Everyone was wondering what’s going on, what is happening, and will they attack anywhere else.”

Even though they were nearly 1,000 miles from the attacks, some students had a more personal connection to the event. Dominique Williams, a junior from Memphis, Tennessee, had a stepsister who was on the ground in New York City who still remembers all the smoke and debris from the Twin Towers after they collapsed. He also said his family was distraught because, along with his stepsister, they also had family friends who were at the scene.

No matter how many years have passed since the deadly attacks, those that were alive during the time will never forget where they were or what crossed their minds. Even the younger generations will remember what friends and families were doing and will continue to pass down their stories so that people will never forget. It is something that will stick with them until their last days, no matter how old or young they were.