A Tragedy That Hits Us All

There is no mistaking the feelings that hit us all on Tuesday morning. I don't think any of us will ever forget where we were, or who we were with when the news first came that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

I know where I was. I was working at the West Virginia Bureau of Employment Programs that day. I had been downstairs when the news first came, but I heard about it before I got to the sixth floor. When I arrived I was informed of the second plane. And people were in complete shock. I also found out they had a TV in the conference room, and it was on.

Then the Pentagon was bombed.

The room was full of people. I will never forget it. No matter what happens from here on, I will never forget the looks on the faces. I will never forget how I felt.

Then I watched live as both buildings fell to the ground.

Oh no.

We were supposed to be leaving for Maryland in just four days. There were 20 of us meeting in Warrenton before we went to the game. Good Lord, I am getting ready to drive into a warzone.

How could I even be worried about me when there could be as many as 30 thousand people dead in New York?

I put my wonder aside.

I didn't sleep a wink that night.

I have two sons, one seven, and one who will be three October 31st. I also have one on the way. I was scared to shut my eyes.

That is when I got mad.

Furious.

Heads need to roll.

We had better bomb someone. Now.

It won't help the violated feeling we all have. It doesn't matter how many countries we bomb, or how many terrorists we bring to justice, our freedom has been raped.

And our weekend activities were taken from us. Many debated whether the games should have gone on this weekend. I thought they should have gone on. Originally. If we can go back to work, we can go back to play, I thought.

But what I didn't think about, was the fact that the people who would have played these games were people too.

Consider how hard it was to concentrate on your job on Wednesday, Thursday and even Friday. Do you think these ballplayers could have concentrated any better?

Football players could get permanently hurt, even when they are in top form. They don't need to have their minds elsewhere. And that is where they would be. And so would mine.

It appears that the Mountaineers lost a family member in the Trade Center attack. Chris Gray is still missing. We have all read the stories this week. Most of us can remember him at quarterback for the Mountaineers.

I have but one suggestion to honor Chris.

If he is gone, retire his number. Put his number up on the beams on either side of the new scoreboard. Honor him as no other Mountaineer has been honored.

He wasn't the best player WVU ever had. He wasn't even one of the best quarterbacks. But he was one of the better men. And he did nothing to deserve losing his life.

His number should hang permanently from the scoreboard in the South endzone at Mountaineer Field.

I never met him. I never met anyone from his family. But that doesn't matter. He was part of the Mountaineer Family. And he will be missed.


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