Biola’s untold stories of 9/11

Campus mourns 9/11 through lament service and flags on Metzger lawn.


Tyler Otte

Flags were placed on Metzger Lawn on September 11, 2011 in the shape of a cross, in honor of the 10th year anniversary of the attacks. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES

Abbey Bennett, Writer

There are a lot of things in life that cannot be fully described and even more that cannot be explained. As the nation mourned on the anniversary of Sept.11, Biola’s campus joined. Even as a university on the other side of the nation, a decade later, the impact of that day hung in the air and we remembered those lost and those affected.

Friday morning, students and faculty covered Metzger lawn with 2,996 flags, in remembrance of each life lost on Sept. 11. Throughout the weekend, many commemorated in local churches and in personal times of reflection throughout the day. During the lament service at Singspo, held on Sunday night, many stories were shared by those directly impacted, but even after the events of the weekend there are reflections and testimonies that have not yet been shared.

Remembering 9/11

“I lost one of the most impacting mentors I had ever had in my life to 9/11. She was my mentor through my local church at the time. I had sought out a mentor because I wanted to gain a stronger faith and relationship with God. She was simply an accountability partner and friend but she would never realize that in those months I spent with her, just being encouraged and influenced by her strong faith that it would save me. Although I still do not understand why her life was cut short, I know that she was saved and has returned to her Father.”
-Yasmin Ghabbour, sophomore

“I have a lot of family there, so I am always in and out of New York throughout the year. Fortunately, I did not lose any family members. I had been in New York, to end off my summer right before school would be starting back in September, walking Ground Zero not thinking anything of it at all. Returning for a visit a few months after the disastrous event, it was like a foreign land to me. New York was no longer the Big Apple, the city had lost its soul. One thing I did notice in my trips following the attack, was that even though there was an obvious brokenness in this city, the tragedy brought the stereotyped cut-throat, cold New Yorkers together and a community was formed through shared pain [and] sadness.” -Adam Bosch, junior

“I was really young. I went to school in western Pennsylvania. I remember everyone had to evacuate school because they said a plane crashed in a field that was really close to our school, and that there were planes crashing into New York City buildings. I remember being really scared. We watched the news at school for a while and then we all evacuated and left.” -Katie Voytasek, freshman

“I was in Colombia, South America. I wasn’t here. And I remember we were in class and we basically stopped class because a teacher came in and interrupted class and he said, ‘A plane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers.’ I had no idea what the Twin Towers were back then. We went to this room, it was called the assembly room. We all went in and there was a T.V. and a lot of students there. We basically stopped class … it’s kind of ironic because I was in a different country so we thought ‘Why are we doing this, what’s going on?’ Everyone stopped what we were doing and we just sat there and watched what was going on. It was crazy because I remember going back home and it was all over the news, it was in Spanish, but it was there. One of the things I remember was seeing people jump from the building.” -Giovanni Rincon, senior

From New York to Pennsylvania, students here were and still are impacted by the tragedies on the East Coast. Immunity can be built up, hearts can become calloused and disregard the hurt and the pain felt on that day. But we must now look through the lens of hope, and we can see that though explanations are not adequate, we are rebuilding and hope is rising.

Contribution by Taylor Durden and Kerri Hall

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