posted on Sept. 14: Alumni respond from New York, Washington


McMaster Times editor Susan Welstead sent an e-mail earlier this week to all alumni living in New York or Washington who have supplied e-mail addresses. She asked them to respond when they had an opportunity. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:

From alumni who live in New York:

“I can tell you that things are scary here in NYC…I wasn't in the
vicinity of the towers as our office is in mid-town but we could see the buildings from 5th/Madison. I'm alright but a bit shaken…the reason I'm shaken is due to the bomb threats, sirens and jet fighters flying over head…I guess it all hit last night (Wednesday) when I could smell the smoke and stench of the disaster all the way up on 80th Street (Upper East Side)…if you think about it, that's pretty
far from the location of the disaster…. I originally thought my building was on fire…” Nick Carofano '86, Faculty of Business

“I'm fine and safe right now. Thanks for your concern. I have about 50 e-mails so I'll try and write later.” – William Ho '98, Faculty of Science

“My family and my sister's family are okay. It is crazy here. I will try to get you more on this later.” – Tom Hutchinson '81, Faculty of Social Sciences

“Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness and concern. Fortunately, I do not live or work near the World Trade Center.
Living in Manhattan, one is surely going to know at least one person who has worked at the World Trade Center. I am lucky to say all my friends came out of this physically unscathed. You don't hear the normal noise emanating from the streets of Manhattan today. No hustle and bustle. The flags are flying at half mast and the feeling within feels the same. It's just so hard to believe that something this horrific occurred. As Tony Blair said yesterday, 'This wasn't an attack on America alone.' I
truly feel this statement, as I am a Canadian living and contributing within the United States.

“Mahatma Gandhi said: 'When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall – Think of it, always.'” – Milly Bedford-Jones '85, Faculty of Science

“Thanks for your concern. I'm well, but extremely busy trying to sort out customer needs. Perhaps I'll have more time to speak in a few days.” – Len Campbell '86, Faculty of Social Sciences

From alumni who live in Washington:

“Thank you for your concern… I commute to NYC from Washington and was a few miles from the World Trade Centre watching the result of the first plane crash unfold through a window in a packed “lounge” on the top floor of our building. Then we saw the second plane actually come around and position itself to hit the second tower; when Tower 2 was hit we lost all communication via cell phones, phones and
email as well as television, and we left the building.

I'm now staying across the river in New Jersey and can still see the smoke and the altered state of the skyline of NYC from my room – a very strange, empty feeling.

“I already know of people who are assumed to have not made it and we will learn more over the next few days. The hospitals are eerily quiet. I am not sure exactly how many Canadians were in the WTC, but I know there were many. So many nationalities work at the WTC. I don't know if there were any McMaster alumni in the area; if there were, please let me know.

“I am fine. I am numb. I watched one of the most recognizable buildings in the world get hit and tumble to the ground. I'm trying not to overplay my emotions since I was never in danger but I'm constantly thinking about the fact that I go to the WTC on Wednesdays, but will no longer. My flight home is likely to be cancelled tomorrow; when I eventually am able to fly home to
Washington, the usually spectacular view from the plane I see every week of the Pentagon will again remind me of the extent of the tragedy.” – Chandresh Harjivan '91, Faculty of Science

“I am still a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the disasters. I was
unaware of what had happened here in Washington until I happened to turn on my TV set. At first I thought I had turned on one of those TV movies, but Peter Jennings' face appeared and he started to talk about what had happened both here and in New York. I can't say that I was devastated; rather, I was stunned and could not truly comprehend what I was watching. My little dog has had to come to me, to jump into my lap and whimper to remind me that he should be walked!

“At supper each night, we talk somberly of the significance of this event when compared to other events in our long lives. I must say that the prayer session which we held in our chapel was
most helpful. We sang the old hymns and listened to the familiar psalms and Bible readings to which we have always turned in times of sorrow.

“On the e-mail this morning there were several general messages sent out with patriotic themes and music. The eagle is awaking. Let us hope that it does nothing rash. I live in NW Washington at a distance from the Pentagon which is actually across the Potomac in Northern Virginia. I keep wondering if any of the people I know were caught
in the holocaust. I can only pray that they died instantaneously.
As always happens, people are gathering in churches to pray; schools are planning to have therapists and counselors on hand to help the children as they return to school.

My heart lifted when I saw that the Commodities
Exchange had reopened in Chicago. Yesterday (Wednesday) my Tuesday mail was delivered. I guess the Wednesday mail will come in today, but I don't know about today's mail, of course. We are
gradually returning to our normal routines.
The CBC program last night was excellent. It was broadcast over C-Span 2.

“This is a jumble I know, but perhaps it will give you an idea of what the past two days have been like for one alumna. “And now abideth Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.” Somehow this has been a wake-up call to this country. I pray that we won't neglect these three essentials again!” – Jean Colburn '43, Faculty of Humanities

“Thank you for asking, but I'm in Ukraine. My permanent address is still in DC, but I live in Kiev currently. My younger daughter in New York, who lives about a mile from the World Trade Center, is OK and back to work at McGraw-Hill today.” – Ross Chomiak '60, Faculty of Social Sciences