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United in Disaster

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September 12, 2012

By Kendal Kuehler
Ranger Reporter

A historical day that should be remembered, a tragedy, a traumatic event for America, and a moment when the world stood still from the horror are the words from Amarillo College’s students that describe 9/11.

It has been 11 years now since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but not all memories of the day are as clouded as the dust in New York City from the collapse of the towers. The towers collapsed but America’s unity grew from the disarray.

“That tragic event happened and all of us feel bad for those people. They’re Americans, we’re Americans, New Yorkers or Texans, it doesn’t make a difference,” said Doctor Farmer, Social Science Professor.

The recorded casualties for that day are 2,993 people (including hijackers) and 8,900 injures. Worldwide 9/11 holds the highest casualty rate for a terrorist attack in a single day according to Wm. Robert Johnston website.

Farmer thinks it is amazing, how almost everyone was virtually connected to somebody that they knew or were related someone that lost their life that day.

During a disaster the United States set their differences aside and band together to form a stronger unity.

“Common enemies make best friends,” said Ruth Lumpkin, an English major. Lumpkin pondered on the question of the unity of the nation and concluded that most of the time American citizens let their differences get in the way of the countries unity until a disaster.

America became very patriotic after 9/11 supporting the country and making it more unified. In the time of a disaster things change, but as time passes people’s lives go back to normal. A tragic event 9/11 was, but now people believe it is just another day in history book.

Lumpkin was in 3rd grade and doesn’t remember too much and Tremillo sees it as just another date when people became more alert and defensive.

Farmer explained that America becoming more unified on 9/11 as a “natural human emotion”. It is natural for people to see past the differences and unit together in disaster. Farmer also said, “It will be a day that will be remembered, every year, as long as America exist.”

As a nation people might not feel unified but Amarillo College’s unity is a different story.

“Yes, AC is unified, but it is also diverse too” said Lumpkin.

The diversity among AC campus does not halt the unity of the school. Amarillo College’s goal is to help students succeed.

“Everyone is unified toward making AC the best it can be,” said Farmer.

United we stand, more so in a disaster.

Behind the lens

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Firemen Rescue Team, October 11th, 2001 Printed on RC Paper, 29 x 39.75” All photographs copyright Joel Meyerowitz Courtesy of Joel Meyerowitz and Edwynn Houk Gallery This show is organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions

By Andrea Godoy

Firemen Rescue Team, October 11th, 2001 Printed on RC Paper, 29 x 39.75” All photographs copyright Joel Meyerowitz Courtesy of Joel Meyerowitz and Edwynn Houk Gallery This show is organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions

There is a deliberateness in his images. A shadow is not there by accident or coincidence. The streaks of sweat that crisscross the subject’s face are noticeable because he wants them to be noticed. It’s as if the emotions captured on film transport the viewer to that specific point in time. Each picture tells a story; not just random snapshots, but an entire canvas is covered with one scene, each one more impressive than the last. Each is focused on the same theme. Aftermath.

Joel Meyerowitz was the only photographer who was able to get access to Ground Zero immediately following the attacks of 9/11. His collection of large-format images was released to the public five years after the attack. Amarillo College’s Student Government Association, in partnership with the Amarillo Museum of Art, is hosting Meyerowitz’s collection for the first time in Texas.

On Tuesday, the SGA hosted a lecture on Meyerowitz by AC photography instructor Rene West. “Meyerowitz did not stumble into the forbidden city,” West said. Like all artistic ventures, Meyerowitz followed a thought process to get the shot he wanted.

“I wanted people to know who he was, not just see these pictures,” West said. Meyerowitz was introduced to photography when he was 10 years old, she said. He began his career as a photographer shooting “street photography.” In the early 1960s, he would attend parades and shoot members of the audience. West explained in her lecture that many street photographers would use that technique because they were able to become invisible.

That invisibility would serve Meyerowitz well while he was photographing Ground Zero. “He had permission from politicians to be at the site, but never from the police,” West said. “They considered that area a crime scene and people consistently got kicked out.” Meyerowitz was determined to get the shots, however. He couldn’t just walk in with his camera.

Iron Workers, September 23rd, 2001 Printed on RC Paper, 29 x 39.75” All photographs copyright Joel Meyerowitz Courtesy of Joel Meyerowitz and Edwynn Houk Gallery This show is organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions

“He said he had to look the part,” West said. “First he made sure he was always in uniform, backwards cap, respirator, duct-taped pant legs. He said, ‘I also got really good at forging workers passes.’”

SGA Vice President Kim Silvia said this project was a fascinating process. “It is absolutely amazing what he has done and the information that Rene gave today,” she said.

The traveling collection will be on display at AMoA through Dec. 31. Shelly Sparks, a radio- TV major, said of Meyerowitz’s image, “A wounded welder,” “You can see how tired and distressed he is. The colors and use of shadow are just amazing.”

The exhibit is part of Amarillo College’s year-long institutional theme. “There is a connection between the past and present in these pictures,” said photography major Zachary Quiroz. “They tell their own story. There is emotion in every picture.”


Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011

VIDEO: AC and AMOA host 911 Photography Exhibit

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Picture 17

On November 2, Amarillo College and the Amarillo Museum of Art celebrated the grand opening of “Aftermath: Images from Ground Zero”–


Uploaded: Wednesday, November 03, 2011

Institutional theme brings 9/11 to Amarillo

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Rare photographs of Ground Zero tour U.S., stop at AMoA

By Linda Cortez

The Amarillo Museum of Art is remembering the 10th anniversary of 9/11 through photographs and special events.

Photo courtesy of Aftermath by Joel Meyerowitz

AMoA launched the exhibition, “Aftermath: Images from Ground Zero/Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz,” Oct. 28. It will run through Dec. 31.

The pictures “became property of the city museum of New York the year after the photographs toured internationally, and now on the 10-year anniversary they are touring the United States, and this will be the only Texas venue,” said Kim Mahan, AMoA deputy director.

Joel Meyerowitz’s photos are the only existing photographic record of Ground Zero immediately after 9/11. After the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the area was closed to other photographers.

Little information is available about the activities in the guarded, enclosed area that was known as “the forbidden city.”

Joel Meyerowitz became the only photographer to have access to the site. “The photographer was there for nine months and took all of these photographs,” Mahan said.

Amarillo College photography instructor Rene West will give an overview of “Meyerowitz: Behind the Lens” at noon Tuesday.

Along with the photos is a piece of steel that was recovered from the World Trade Center. The steel also will be on temporary exhibition.

“The photographs and recovered steel from 9/11 really caught my emotions,” said Allie Dakat, a tourist from Riley, Kan. “I never realized how much destruction was caused until I started seeing the details in the photos.”


Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2011

VIDEO: Remembering 9/11 – ten years later

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Picture 8

Tanner Willis talks to students and faculty about living in a post 9/11 America.

VIDEO: AC Concert Choir 9/11Tribute

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Photo by Joshua Wagner

AC Concert Choir honors those who died 09/11/01

Turn your thoughts outward

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Picture 8
Linda Cortez - Photo by Mike Haynes

Step out of your world and get involved

Opinion By Linda Cortez

Everyone seems to be asking the same question: “What were you doing when the 9/11 attack happened?”

But the truth is that it doesn’t matter where I was or what I was doing at that time. I can only think of the effects of that morning.

How can I move past the fact that almost 3,000 innocent people died in such a massacre?

Or that it took more than a year to clean up the debris. And because of those horrible facts alone, I don’t need to think about what I was doing that Tuesday morning to help refresh my memories of that day.

So for the 10th anniversary, I stood in stillness with my complicated thoughts and with my unsteady emotions. Not only did I replay 9/11 in my mind over again, but I grieved for all the innocent lives taken.

I allowed for my selfishness to be put aside and to pray for the families. I mourned for the nearly 3,000 families who lost their loved ones.

No matter where life takes me or how long my life’s journey may be, I will never forget.

So instead of the questions, “Where were you?” or, “What were you doing?,” why not replace them with, “What have you done to help someone who still is affected?”

Everyone faces their own tragedies of losing a loved one.

Be a supporter – not a hoarder of your own selfishness.

I encourage you to step out of your world and be a supporter for someone who has fallen.


Originally published: Friday, September 16, 2011

City of Amarillo honors fallen heroes of 9/11

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Photo by Jackie Sellinger

State representatives join Amarilloans to honor those who died in Twin Tower tragedy

By Linda Cortez

Hundreds gathered Sunday morning in front of City Hall to remember and honor the heroic emergency workers who fell on 9/11.

“We didn’t have time to say goodbye, so we come together today to tell them now,” said Melinda Garcia.

About 3,000 Americans lost their lives that day. Among them were 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 port authority police officers and eight paramedics.

The memorial ceremony began with a prayer for strength and support for the families who lost loved ones followed by the tolling of a bell in honor of the firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.

As the crowd fell silent, the final 10-42 code was called loud and clear for police officers who fell, clearing them to be honorably relieved from all further assignments.

“I am pleased that we are able to participate in this ceremony,” said state Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo. “Not only because of what occurred 10 years ago, but equally as important on how we responded and the strength of our country and how we overcame adversity and how we did not give up our freedoms. And that we continue to fight, that we continue to make this country strong and safe. And for that, I’m very proud”

The ceremony continued with a salute honoring all families of American emergency workers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Mayor Paul Harpole read a letter from U.S Sen. John Cornyn, R-Austin.

“Sept. 11, 2001, changed our country forever,” Harpole read. “Ten years later in 2011, crowds of Americans across the country and throughout the state of Texas remember what we learned on that terrible day. We learned that adversity brings out the best in us, we learned that terrorists can take lives and knock down buildings but they can’t destroy what makes America the greatest nation on earth. We learned that heroes walk among us every day.”

Two pieces of steel salvaged from the remains of the World Trade Center were preserved and archived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, and on March 8, 2011, the two pieces of history arrived in Amarillo to be displayed in the museum in the central fire station.

“We owe all of these men and women first responders, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS,” said state Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo. “We owe all the others a debt of gratitude.”

The ceremony concluded with an honorary march of local emergency responders, military personnel, city and state officials in remembrance of the victims and heroes of 9/11.


Originally published: Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amarillo College Remembers 9/11

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Photo by Joshua Wagner

SGA organizes special ceremony

By Andrew Messenger

Amarillo College students and employees remembered the victims of 9/11 Monday morning.

“We did this for two reasons,” said Heather Atchley, student activities director. “For Constitution Day and to recognize 9/11. This year’s event is in support of the institutional theme, which is ‘Reconstructing 9/11.'”

Student Government Association members placed flags on the grounds surrounding the Washington Street Campus clock tower, each one bearing the name of a victim of the attacks. Special events took place throughout the morning to help the AC community remember.

“Taps” was played and the colors were presented.

“It was amazing how everyone got silent when it started,” said Maribel Heredia, a student who attended the ceremony. “It was very touching and respectful to victims.”

“It was breathtaking how everyone just stopped what they were doing and watched,” said Juan Ortiz, another student. “I really felt united with everyone.”

At 11:45 a.m., the AC show choir performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and an arrangement of “America the Beautiful” by Dr. Steven Weber, AC choir director.


Originally published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Memories of 9/11

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Photo by Joshua Wagner

Ten years later, three women revisit that fateful day

By David Gisch

Students, faculty and community members gathered in the Oak Room at the Washington Street Campus yesterday to hear three women share their memories from Sept. 11, 2001.

The event, “Memories of 9/11,” launched Amarillo College’s 2011-2012 institutional theme, “Reconstructing 9/11.”

Community members Lina Alassali, Dr. Mary Ann Piskun and Carolyn Garner recalled where they were on that fateful day. Their stories are below.

Alassali, a Syrian United Nations employee, was immigrating to America with her husband when their plane was turned around because of the attacks.

Uncertain of what was going on, they saw footage on a television in the Amsterdam Airport.

“I saw two buildings falling to the ground,” Alassali said. “At first I thought it was a movie.”

Because she and her husband did not have their visas, they were forced to stay in the airport. Three days later, the couple was moved to an emergency refugee camp.

After two days, they were informed they were still not cleared to travel and were sent to another camp.

“It was a cold September in Amsterdam, we were dressed in Damascus summer clothes,” Alassali said.

After waiting almost an entire week, they were finally able to fly to America.

Alassali said she understood the heightened security when they arrived in Dallas.

When security asked her why they were headed to Amarillo, she replied that Catholic Family Services had relocated them.

“After 10 years in Amarillo, we are happy to be here,” she said.

Dr. Mary Ann Piskun

Dr. Mary Ann Piskun was in New York City on a business trip when she became part of the 9/11 aftermath medical crew.

“I was attending a review course with 150 surgeons in the meeting room alongside me,” Piskun said

After hearing about the tragedy, Piskun, a veteran and plastic surgeon, decided she wanted to do her part to help. She and some other doctors attending the same conference headed toward Ground Zero.

“We arrived at the scene and were given masks,” Piskun said. “You couldn’t tell what color people were wearing there was so much dust.

“I am a plastic surgeon, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to help.”

She felt a sigh of relief after hearing another surgeon ask for a blood pressure cuff, she said.

She and the other doctors turned a deserted television studio into a makeshift operation room. They prepared to help victims and emergency workers with what little equipment they had.

“Everyone was ready for patients but we never got any,” Piskun said.

One exhausted firefighter stopped by and she gave him a blanket.

There were so few survivors that local hospitals were able to handle everything on their own, Piskun said.

The group had no way of receiving news of what was happening while they were waiting, she said. Any information they received was based on rumors.

Carolyn Garner

Carolyn Garner was at a hotel in New York City, only about 17 blocks from the World Trade Centers on Sept. 11, 2001. She was on the phone with her husband who was at home in Amarillo when he told her to turn on the TV.

“As I turned it on, the second plane hit and the phone lines went dead,” she said.

After watching the news alone in awe for a while, Garner wandered down the stairs of her hotel to the lobby.

“Folding chairs were setup to view a TV in the hotel lobby,” she said said.

The hotel lobby shared a wall with a fire department and Garner watched as fireman lined up to be sent out.

She said she decided to venture out into the streets.

“It was so un-New York,” she said. “The silence created an eerie feeling.”

Garner said the only businesses open were bars and they were full of people watching the news.

“God asks us to persevere and keep going,” Garner said. “Sometimes its hard.

“I saw pictures of missing people on flagpoles asking for prayer, so I did.”


Originally published: Friday, September 9, 2011

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