Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Hitting home: Manhattan and Washington D.C., natives view Tuesday’s terrorist acts from a distance

UW-Madison junior Brian Lee’s Washington, D.C., home is a two-minute drive from the Pentagon. He went to class Tuesday. He walked down State Street and hung out at Memorial Union just hours after what President Bush called an “act of war” struck a hole in his backyard.

The eyes of the world saw Tuesday’s terrorist attacks destroy national landmarks. To New York and Washington, D.C., residents, the attacks were intensely personal. Acts of terrorism directly harmed their family, their friends and their city.

“I just had such a hard time believing it happened, because the Pentagon is a place I go every day ? I drove past it all the time,” Lee said.

Upon hearing radio news of the airplane crashes in class Tuesday morning, Lee said his thoughts immediately turned to his little brother, who attends school near the crash site, and his best friend’s father, who works in the Pentagon.

Lee is one of 41 identified UW-Madison students from metropolitan Washington, D.C., according to UW’s office of student tabulations. Additionally, 120 UW students are from Manhattan or areas in New York City, and roughly 500 hail from New York state.

Manhattan native Lauren Schweitzer, a UW junior, said news of the attacks made her feel violated. She said she could not concentrate on schoolwork or classes.

“There’s no way I could have sat through class knowing my home was being terrorized,” she said.

The extent of damage from the attacks isolated U.S. metropolitan areas from the suburban and rural U.S., which felt limited effects. New York and Washington’s public transit and government shutdowns were the most immediately visible metropolitan repercussions; Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston are among other major U.S. metropolitan areas that witnessed transportation halts. In addition, economic aftershocks are likely to hit U.S. metropolitan areas due to ensuing entertainment and financial shutdowns.

UW senior Caitlin Hanson, who was in Manhattan Tuesday and Wednesday, described the ironic hush that fell upon Manhattan after the carnage.

“Immediately there was no TV, no radio to let us in the airport know what was going on,” she said. “Now the buses are closed, the bridges are closed, and there’s still no public transportation going into the city, so masses of people are just walking miles and miles to work. It’s weird.”

The last two days have given rescuers and police an opportunity to identify crash victims of the hijacked planes. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani abandoned hope of rescuing survivors in the World Trade Center’s rubble Wednesday morning.

Although the attacks upset students campus-wide, those with strong East-Coast ties were more personally touched.

“All Americans should care, but the New Yorkers are more affected, because it was their home that was hit,” Schweitzer said.

UW junior and Washington, D.C., native Abby Bonder said D.C. students were more distressed than Midwestern students.

“From this event, we can see that D.C. is a vulnerable terrorist target,” she said. “Being in the Midwest, you get a safe sense of being surrounded by things. I don’t think anyone feels directly threatened here.”

Bonder said students with loved ones in the shell-shocked cities experienced the most pain Tuesday.

“The intensity comes in when you know people in D.C. and Manhattan and are trying to find out if they are all right and all the phone lines are busy,” she said. “People from Wisconsin didn’t feel that.”

Hanson, who was in a cab on her way to LaGuardia airport when the first airplane struck the World Trade Center, said television does not do the past days’ events justice.

“Students from Madison see all the stuff on TV ? terrorism is something you associate with foreign countries and even now can detach yourself from,” she said. “A huge hole in the top of a tall building was in flames. This I could see.”

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