“Where were you on Sept. 11?” On Sept. 15, in commemoration of both the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and Constitution Day, a panel discussion was held in Silk Auditorium called 9/11: A Decade Later. Dr. Scott Waalkes, professor of political science, and Dr. Gregory Miller, professor of history, both tied the events of 9/11 into parts of this nation’s Constitution, citing it as a reason why Islamic extremists hate Americans.
Waalkes listed seven lessons that America has learned about waging war on terror.
“We need to react to these events first as Christians, second as Americans,” said Waalkes, who lived in the Middle East for a year.
Waalkes said he was saddened by the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s assassination in May but he did feel as if it had achieved some sort of justice and brought closure.
Miller challenged the audience to learn more about world religions which will bring about better understanding of people different from us. He expressed a desire for America to gain a more accurate view of terrorism.
He presented a rather shocking image as to how Americans judge Muslims, placing them in three categories: those who are good, those who want to destroy the American way of life, and those who pretend to be good but really want to destroy the American way of life.
[pullquote]“We need to react to these events first as Christians, second as Americans,” Waalkes said.[/pullquote]
Miller pointed out that if Americans held this view of every group of people, we would be unable to trust anyone because they look nice but they might secretly want to hurt us. Miller urged the audience to “resist the insulating, cocooning way of our culture,” and, as the Bible says, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Junior history major Chrissy Salem offered some thoughts on the event.
“I kind of expected just to hear their stories about 9/11 and their reactions to it as well as their suggestions on where we can go from here, which they actually did address,” Salem said.
Salem said her first reaction on 9/11 was to ask, “What is happening?”
“I didn’t even know where the twin towers were to be honest,” Salem said. “I was really confused so I’m glad to hear peoples’ opinions that were older and had lived through it.”
Kaitlyn Stump is a staff writer for Aviso AVW.