The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday September 18th

Shocked Community Shares Grief

By noon Tuesday, attacks had already taken place in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and many local residents were already following the tragedy.

John Woodard, owner of Sutton's Drug Store, said he first heard of the attacks a little after 9 a.m. when a customer came into the store and informed him of the strikes on New York's World Trade Center.

"When I found out, I immediately told the girls to turn on the TV, and (it's) been on all day," Woodard said. "I was in a state of shock when I found out. I couldn't believe anyone would do such a thing."

Sitting in class and unaware of the terrorism, sophomore Lindsay Thurman of Glasgow, Ky., first learned about it from her math instructor.

"Our teacher came in and asked if anyone had a radio," she said. "You just don't expect to hear that at 9:30 in the morning.

"We were all like, why are we in here? We need to find out about it."

Jay King, a senior biology and Spanish major, said he briefly heard some sparse details of the terrorist acts before his 9:30 a.m. class. But when he learned about the magnitude of the devastation, King said he rushed to Woody's Tar Heel Tavern on Franklin Street. "I knew there was a lot of TVs, and I knew it would be crowded so I came right after class," King said. "I'm sorry I even went to my 9:30 class."

By noon at Woody's, more than 80 people had filled every available seat in the bar, clustering around the television sets that were broadcasting reports on the attacks.

In the later morning hours, staff in the Student Union started setting up the jumbo screen and rows of seats in the Great Hall, as well as television sets in the Cabaret and other areas in the Union.

"At 11:30, just about every spot in the Great Hall and in the Union was taken," said Don Luse, director of the Carolina Union. "It was overflowing everywhere. We were surprised by the number of people."

Junior sociology major Tara Motes was sitting in the back of the Great Hall at 2 p.m., watching the CNN broadcast on a jumbo screen. Motes was among about 50 students and faculty members who sat clutching their bags and shaking their heads in disbelief.

"I could've stayed in my apartment all day just sitting in front of the TV, but in this situation it's better to be around people," Motes said. "We all have the same feeling."

In a more relaxed and smoke-filled environment, about 15 people hunched over wooden tables at Linda's Bar and Grill, glued to the four television sets fixed above the bar. "People have been coming in to use the phone and to just sit down with a beer and watch the TV," said Peter Dever, an employee at Linda's.

Lynne Rossman, a statistics graduate student and teaching assistant, said she went to Woody's where the patrons were in a communal state of shock. "It'll be interesting to see if people show up (for classes)," she said.

But others said adhering to normal class schedules could be beneficial.

Dan Davis, an economics graduate student and teaching assistant, said he has mixed feelings about parts of the University shutting down and about classes being canceled.

Davis teaches two Economics 10 recitation sections Tuesday afternoons and said, while he was watching CNN's latest news reports in the Great Hall, that he was considering how to handle those classes.

"On one hand, I feel I should not hold them, but on the other hand, it's kind of like giving in to the terrorists," he said. "We're definitely going to meet. I may ask them if they have anything they'd like to talk about."

In light of the attacks, one widely discussed concern was future treatment of people of Middle Eastern descent and international students. "I hope to God this doesn't turn into a retaliatory prejudice against Palestinian-Americans," said law student April Zotecan as she reflected after spending four hours absorbing news coverage at Woody's. "I have a Palestinian niece, and I hope (she's) not punished for what happened today."

In the early evening hours, vigils starting popping up around campus, giving the campus an opportunity to reflect on the day's violent events that, for many, defy understanding. About 100 people attended a 5 p.m. vigil conducted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Students approached the flag pole on Polk Place in groups of two and three as the sun began to sink. For the next 35 minutes, the group offered prayers for victims, for rescue workers, for political leaders and for themselves. "Father, I know my first response is anger, bitterness and rage," said one participant. "Have mercy on us, on people who want to exact revenge, that our hearts not be filled with passionate anger but with peace."

Moeser joined the group about halfway through the vigil. He stood on the outside of the circle bowing his head. He left for South Building a few minutes later.

Howard Rund, a former Marine from Long Island, N.Y., who attended the vigil, said his best friend called him after she escaped from the rubble of the World Trade Center. He had yet to hear from his father, who works near the buildings. "We were told today that people don't fear us," Rund said. "I came here to feel safe."

Later Tuesday night, a circle of people holding hands in the Pit had to continuously expand as more and more people joined to pray for the victims of the terrorist attacks. Almost 70 people eventually joined the 7:30 p.m. prayer session.

Junior Patience Whitehead, one of the speakers, said the attacks were a reminder of humanity's feebleness and humility. "I'm praying for all those who are confused, Lord, and all those whose hearts are just broken," she said.

Hannah Carlton, a freshman from Denver who attended the vigil, said the attacks were a national tragedy. "A lot of us are not even close to this, but in a way we are, because this affects all of us," she said.

And while closing up shop at the ending of an exhausting day, Sutton's owner John Woodard was still in a state of disbelief. He said, "I keep hoping I'm going to wake up and find out this is all a dream."

Rachel Clarke, Brook Corwin, Ben Gullett and Stephanie Horvath contributed to this article.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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