Community News
APA Staff Share Their Responses to the Events of September 11
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 20 page 9-9

I heard the news of the World Trade Center while driving in to work that morning. I remember thinking that I was pretty safe; who would want to attack the APA building? Only moments later did I learn that the Pentagon was struck minutes after I passed by and that there was a second plane on its way toward D.C.

It all became very real at that point and there were some anxious moments—trying to figure out if I should rush back to Virginia to pick up my daughter, who was only a few miles from National Airport and the Pentagon. Where would the second plane hit and when? My hometown in rural Pennsylvania was looking very attractive at that point. It was soon after that we learned the second plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

    —Rebeca Yowell, Assistant Director, Healthcare Systems and Financing

As I looked out the window onto the intersection of 14th and K streets, I thought: I’m in a movie I did not audition for. . . .The events on September 11th helped me develop a philosophy of workplace solidarity: cultivate not only a professional but also the most sincere and kind relationships with your work mates. They are your other family—they just don’t see you wet from the shower. You live with them and may have to one day die with them.

    —Monecia Samuel, Associate Librarian, Melvin Sabshin Library and Archives

It’s taken about two weeks for my fear of going to work to subside. It’s been difficult to overcome that fear, especially since family members have been pressuring me to find a job outside of D.C.

    —Frances Atkinson, Membership Marketing Manager, Membership Services

Although some things changed permanently on September 11, some of these changes seem to have been for the better. I am encouraged that many people are paying more attention to the things that really matter these days. Politeness seems to be coming back, and people are forgoing "reality TV" and other frivolous pursuits to watch CNN and learn more about what is going on in the world. It is unfortunate that these positive developments have come at the cost of thousands of lives. I hope that these changes will endure, and I hope that although we are starting to get on with our lives, we will never forget the tragedy of these events.

    —Deborah Christie-Smith, Associate Editor, Psychiatric Services Journal

My 4-year-old twin boys continue to seek answers to questions I never imagined they would ask. About death. War. Hatred. Yet in so many ways I find solace in them. Last week I suggested we deliver candles to families throughout our neighborhood. The boys asked why. As I searched for just the right answer, my son asked, "So everyone in the world has a nightlight and no one will be afraid?" I smiled.

    —Carol Svoboda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS

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