Winter 2001
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TCU Magazine Feature

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Shedding tears, shedding light

The campus responds to Sept. 11

We have all been changed. Like it or not, the world America woke to that Tuesday would become, in a matter of hours, something that most tremble to consider. Yet, maybe we need not. Ponder the wisdom of Paul Hofman '78, who sent the following letter to the editor a week after the tragedy:

"One day last week The TCU Magazine landed on my doormat in Sussex just 20 miles outside London. I read with interest the article by Jennifer "jen-iff-ah" Klein about her time in London, and was impressed. She seemed to have spent her time well.

My mind went back to 1976 when I, as a young Londoner, turned up at TCU to do two years as a grad student in art, expecting to reinforce all my preconceptions about American life, culture and politics.


I was reading the article at work when the phone rang and a friend said, "Two planes have hit the trade towers in New York."

We laughed; then realizing it was no office joke, we turned to the BBC on the Web and along with millions of others watched events unfold. People in the office were rendered speechless (no work of any value was done that week). My mother, who lived through the London blitz in the second war, spent the week in tears in front of the TV. For us it was too much to bear.

Yes it's true, Jennifer's observations on how many Europeans see America were right. The way we see the world often seems very different. We Brits have become cynical to terrorism and security threats, which have become part of daily life, as Jennifer will tell you. I have friends in Belfast and knew someone on the Lockerbie plane.

But let me assure you that when we stood in silence for three minutes on Friday, and filled churches, and wept in front of the TV, it was no cynical gesture; because we felt what you felt, and stood there in horror with you.

We have all been affected, we have all been changed. We are all one bit closer than before.

As for the future? Well, maybe the leaders, political movers, terrorists and media moguls would do well to start with Jennifer's article and listen to what she has learned."