Volume 4, Issue 4 University of Houston
Houston and UH stand strong after Sept. 11 attacks
Next Monday marks the first day of classes for Spring 2002.
2002 has such a nice ring, doesn't it? It kind of rolls off the tongue, and it looks cool, too, being symmetrical and all. The next time something like this will happen will be the year 2112, which just doesn't have as nice a look or sound.
Maybe it's a good omen, especially after the year we had in 2001. In the Stanley Kubrick movie of that name (released in 1968), 2001 was represented as a year when mankind would reach the farthest reaches of the solar system, and make contact with a benevolent extraterrestrial entity.
But things didn't quite turn out that way. The year that was the "actual" start of the new millennium wasn't very kind to mankind.
Here in the Gulf Coast region, we were reminded of the terrible power the whims of nature can hold over our lives. Tropical Storm Allison caused the deaths of dozens of people, and created untold havoc that is still being felt in our community. Our own UH campus has yet to completely recover, with the University Center Underground and the UC Satellite still closed for months to come.
And then came what will no doubt forever be referred to as "the events of Sept. 11." The devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania brought the turmoil of the world to our shores in a way we had never quite felt before. After a decade of peace and prosperity, Americans suddenly learned in the most terrible way possible that we aren't immune from having tragedy visited upon us by fanatics. We responded by launching the first full-fledged war since 1991's Operation Desert Storm. But this war has no clear end in sight.
The attacks were followed by a nationwide series of attacks of the biological agent anthrax, killing several and creating fear in millions (there was even a scare here on campus). Perhaps the scariest part is that the perpetrator(s) may be American citizens.
Later we received official confirmation of what was already suspected, that the U.S. economy had gone into recession. This wasn't exactly news to us in Houston, as major employers Compaq and Continental Airlines had already let go thousands of employees. And this was even before once-celebrated Enron went into a bankruptcy nosedive.
But through it all, we saw anew the resilience and fortitude of the American spirit. The new sense of patriotism has been inspiring. Houston and UH showed a remarkable ability to overcome the effects of Allison, and the citizens of New York City have demonstrated true heroism.
As they say in sports, wait 'till next year.