VOICES OF DAVIDSON

September 11, 2001

by | Sep 12, 2018 | Bottom Left Black Box, Voices of Davidson |

Two of our children were living in New York. When the planes hit, Robin was in a class at NYU. Wilson climbed to the roof of his Brooklyn apartment in time to see the first building fall and dropped to his knees at the sight. We were unable to reach Robin for hours – he finally called from a phone booth after a long wait in line. He couldn’t return to his dorm on Lafayette Street; it was too close to the disaster.

The attacks went on all morning – the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. Victims, heroes, grief.

I remember walking to the college’s very new Knobloch Campus Center from the Communications offices in Julia Johnston House with my colleague and friend Harriet Regen. Davidson had planned a major institutional event to dedicate the new building in just a few days. Of course, it didn’t happen – no planes were flying, thousands had perished, and the world was in shock.

Harriet and I sat together on the new terrace overlooking Richardson Field, under the bluest of skies. Nothing made sense. That night, the town and college community gathered in the new Alvarez Union for the first time. Hundreds of us — families, students, faculty, staff — filling all three levels, with President Vagt and the chaplain and various faculty gathered in the Brown Atrium to speak. A number of students were from NYC, and many alumni were working in the city.

Bobby was at his best in that moment, president and pastor. Scholars offered perspective. Tears all around us. Fear. Students spoke between sobs about parents and relatives they hadn’t yet heard from.

Everything had changed.

By nightfall, our older sons had found each other and were together in Brooklyn. It was weeks before Robin could return to his dorm. In a few months, Wilson would return to Davidson to begin a new business — New York City was not then the best place for young entrepreneurs.

It will always take my breath away to remember. And it has never been the same.

Meg Kimmel

A professional communicator with a long career in higher education, Meg now consults and volunteers in areas where words and images work together to tell a story. She's a proud member of Davidson's Class of 1977 and lives nearby with her husband, Don, Davidson professor emeritus of biology, with whom she shares a family grown by kinship and choice.

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