Where were you? Remembering 9/11/2001.

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that September day?”  Many of us know the words to that Alan Jackson song.  I remember being in soils lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a senior student in agronomy and crop protection.  We left class early after a classmate came in asking us if we heard the news.  I remember huddling around the lounge TV in Burr Hall with numerous other students watching the footage the remainder of the day.  I remember talking to my best friend, Chris, via phone that night about what it all meant.  Much of our conversation held silence as we tried to comprehend the sadness for the families who lost loved ones, the patriotism and love for our country, and the anger we had at those who dared to destroy our freedoms.  We discussed what we could do such as give blood. We prayed for the families and rescue workers.  I remember selling balloons for the Agronomy Club outside Memorial Stadium the Saturday game after 9/11….and hearing the patriotism from the crowd as a unified 70,000+  sang the Star Spangled Banner-I only wish I could’ve been in the stands at the moment to have experienced that as well.  Chris and I weren’t dating yet but he would become my husband-and little did I know that 10 years later, he would be serving our Country in Afghanistan.  

Chris and I have always been very patriotic but for some reason, little things seem to mean so much more to me now being a military wife.  I don’t think of myself as emotional, but a good rendition of the singing of the Star Spangled Banner or driving down streets lined with flags will bring tears to my eyes.   

This September 11 will again be one I will never forget with my husband overseas.  In some ways, it’s kind of neat as he’s on a mission to help the farmers in Afghanistan become more sustainable.  It’s also memorable for me as God has allowed so many details to come together through the years in order for me to be his Unit’s point of contact for obtaining agricultural information from UNL Extension.  I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help these soldiers…in a small part to show them how much I appreciate what they’re doing for us.  I feel so blessed to work for the Extension system and with a great team of Extension faculty who are committed to this cause-one in which the mission is to provide unbiased, research-based information to the people….not only in our State but throughout the World.  At a time when Extension systems are being cut across the country, other countries see the value of extending information beyond the Universities where information is generated and getting it out to the people to help them improve their lives and sustainability.  That’s what our Nebraska National Guard soldiers including Clay County’s Ashley Koehler from Harvard and my husband on the Agribusiness Development Team are doing in Afghanistan.  They are mentoring local Extension people, setting up research and demonstration farms, teaching classes in poultry and bee production, basic veterinary care, and much regarding crops and irrigation in order to benefit the people and ultimately improve their lives.  That’s what UNL Extension still does today; while it is not the Extension of long ago, it is the Extension that is continually changing in order to adapt to clientele needs.  More of us are using social media to reach a global audience.  More of us are specialized as our clientele are becoming more educated and want to obtain information on a deeper level.  The mission remains the same-to provide unbiased, research-based information to the people.  Our borders have expanded, though.  With the internet, information can be obtained world-wide and with so much information being generated from so many sources, it’s important for Extension to be utilizing tools such as the Web and social media in order to reach a broader audience and for our information to be seen by more people as a reliable source of information.

So this September 11 means a great deal to me as a military wife and as an Extension Educator working with our soldiers.  This ADT2 Team has been gone for 3 months now and one of our UNL Extension Educators, Vaughn Hammond, has joined them to aid in teaching and mentoring Afghan Extension Educators.  For the coming months, I will provide updates on their experiences and what they are doing as it’s not only interesting, but it’s important to hear the good things our soldiers are doing.  

9-11-2001 to 2011…may we never forget.  As I reflect, I’m saying a prayer for the families who lost loved ones that day, for the families who have lost soldiers defending our freedom, and for our soldiers currently serving and their families back home. Please post your comments of where you were that day or what September 11 means to you!

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on September 8, 2011, in Discussion Topics, Military, Reflections and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the post, Jenny. On 9-11-01, I was a first-year teacher at a school near Offutt AFB. The realization for some of my students that when they got home that night, a parent and/or sibling that was home for breakfast would be deployed by dinner was pretty scary. While I had known people in military service before, never quite like that. Some of those then high school students are active duty and deployed today.

  2. Jenn,
    On 9/11/2001 I was at the CSU Larmier County Office in Fort Collins preparing to do a staff lecture on Office Security. Serving as the EDEN Coordinator for Colorado with a past in law enforcement and then still working in EMS and Fire, I was asked by the administration to do a series of the workshops across the state. I was watching as the second plane hit. Reactions were mixed and serious. I councilled a young staff member who had family in Manhattan that our best reaction was to “not give in to terrorism” that continuing on was the best way to fight the attack. I worked with EDEN to set up a message board in several counties with the NY Extension office only blocks from ground zero since the phones were down. I was asked by the county to inspect all of their offices for risk. Afterward I drove 170 miles south to my office fighting back the anger and tears like everyone else. Although I could stay calm during the talk to others, on the way home it was a little too close to my own calling. Several days later the USDA had 11 of us fly to Kansas City to draft a white paper on AgroTerrorism for the government. By then I had settled to a stony resolve. We, as most other Fire Departments, changed our shields to include the “343″ EMTs and firefighters that were lost as they ran in to save others. We wore black bands for a year. Only in 2005 when coming to UNL did I quit the service but my job has allowed me to work on national security issues along the way. Doubt that will ever change. I supported two sons and a brother-in-law through several tours in Iraaq and Afghanistan. What I remember is the pain that came to visit families in every community and the determination that followed. Scott C.

  3. I was in Red Oak Iowa sitting in my shoe store when I heard Air Force One and several fighters fly over head (didn’t know it at the time that’s what it was until I had a customer come in and ask If I knew what that was) Went home and got the TV and brought it down to the store. We had very few customers that day.

  4. Lindsay Chichester

    I had just started grad school in Texas, and I was working in the lab when the first Tower was hit. People started talking about it and how it must have been an accident. We were able to gather around a small tv and we saw the second plane hit, and were glued to the tv the rest of the day. I had not had a chance to get cable hooked up in my apartment yet, but the next day I called and had it installed so I could continue to watch the devastating events unfold.

  1. Pingback: Remembering 9/11/01 « JenREESources's Blog

  2. Pingback: Impacts from Partnering with Military Serving in Afghanistan | JenREESources's Extension Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: