OKWU Moment: Where Were You on September 11?

It was a moment of terror that came to define us in many ways. Other moments followed it, defined by anger, disbelief, heart-wrenching sadness, and unifying patriotism.

Today, 13 years later, the smoke has cleared, but the memories and images stay with us. A few OKWU staff and students took time out to reflect on personal reactions to the news of September 11, 2001.

Professor Kirk Jackson

Dean, CESB & Accounting/Finance Faculty

I was [a junior] in college, taking a Principles of Insurance exam. [I] found out about the planes hitting the towers after class. The professors cancelled classes for the rest of the day and the university cancelled chapel. I watched the news coverage in the office of one of my professors. I was in utter disbelief when it happened. As the magnitude of the event settled in my mind, 

I felt an overwhelming sadness for the people affected and for my country.

It is a day I will never forget as long as I live.


Sarah Sapp

OKWU Senior

[I was in] class (3rd grade) doing some type of school work or craft and my teacher suddenly/hurriedly turned on the news. I had no idea what was going on.

I don’t think I really grasped what happened until much later…it (of course) was everywhere in the media—even Disney.


Dr. David Cochran

Associate Professor of Communications

[I was] teaching in Bloomington, Indiana. [My first reaction was]…

…absolute disbelief.


Anlan Cheney

OKWU Senior

I was at home and naively upset as to why all of the channels on TV were covering news. Then my mom walked in and her look of shock said it all. It took awhile for me to understand what was happening. But it really hit home when I was watching interviews with my family later—seeing moms and their little kids with tears streaming down their faces as they waited for news about loved ones outside the rubble. That was really my first experience in processing grief as a part of a collective group;

…even as a little kid I felt wronged in an enormous way.


Kariny Delahaye

International Student, OKWU Junior

[I was] at home in Brazil. I thought the USA would

…start the WWIII.


Dr. Devon Smith

Director of the Masters of Arts in Theology and Apologetics
I was a youth pastor at a church in Sedona, AZ. It was my day off and I was home with our two boys while my wife was working a part time job when when her dad called to tell me that the second plane had just hit the World Trade center. I didn’t know anything was happening. I immediately put both my boys in the car and drove to where my wife was to tell her of the tragedy and to be sure that she was okay.  Since I did not have a working TV to verify…my first reaction was to wonder if the towers were actually the towers I was thinking about.

As an aviator, I knew that something was bigger than just an accident of a plane hitting the trade towers. No pilot would do that, it had to be a hijacking.


Anna Garrett

OKWU Junior

I was in Gruver, Texas, in the 3rd grade. All the teachers took us to the library…

…we watched the footage over and over.

I didn’t understand what was happening. I watched my teachers’ reactions and knew that something bad had happened, but I didn’t understand the weight of what had just happened.


John Hamman

OKWU Sophomore

I was in my first grade class in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I was confused because class was released, I remember some people talking about [a] bomb. So, originally, I thought we got out for a bomb threat.

"Twin Towers from Empire State Building" by Germán Ramos - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Twin Towers from Empire State Building” by Germán RamosOwn work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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