Looking Back: UT Professor Recalls 9/11

By JESSICA KEESEE

The Sept. 11 attacks have left an imprint on American citizens since the tragedy 11 years ago, a day that still recreates vivid memories for all that look back to it.

Daniel Reimold, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa, remembers that day clearly. An undergrad at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. at the time, Reimold was woken up that morning by his roommate who told him to turn on CNN.

“I was glued to the TV because that was really the main lifeline showing what was happening,” Reimold said. “Frankly [I get] that chill every Sept.  11 on the anniversary when you think about all the people that are gone. To me it’s always seeing the smoke billowing from the towers, that first moment. That’s the image that kind of sticks in my head.”

While watching coverage of the attacks on TV, Reimold received a call from his father.

“The moment that I remember is that I got a call from my dad and as we were talking… I was saying to him, ‘Oh my God, I think the other tower has been hit. Then the line just went blank, the line went dead, and he just rushed off… to watch it himself,” Reimold revealed.

Amidst the breaking news and confusion  Reimold experienced that day, he still had to attend his intro to cinema class where he recalled watching Citizen Cane “from start to finish.”

“The professor, for no reason, just didn’t cancel class that day and we still tease her about it to this day, kind of lightheartedly. She was clueless about what was going on in the world,” joked Reimold. “The image I will remember is Orson Welles… whispering, ‘Rosebud,’ at the very end of this classic piece of cinema and the screen switching to images of smoke blowing out of the towers.”

Once the film ended, the auditorium where his class was being held switched into a public viewing area for those on campus to see the events of Sept. 11 unfold.

“Awestruck” by how the media handled that day in history, Reimold felt an impact as a budding journalist. What stood out to him, however, is how the information of the tragedy spread.

“The strangest thing is that this is the era before social media to the nth degree,” Reimold pointed out. “It was just really kind of trying to figure out what it meant and spending a lot of time on the phone with my parents, family, and a few friends who were in and out of New York, just trying to get a handle on what was going on beyond the official stuff that CNN was reporting. The web was crashing. The news sites were not able to handle the increased traffic. It was pretty wild for a time, pretty confusing.”

He juxtaposed that experience to the breaking news of the Osama bin Laden raid back in May 2011.

“The funniest thing to me is, you know, 10 years ago it was my roommate kicking me awake and saying, ‘Come watch the TV.’ This time around, it was getting a massive number of texts and saying go online and look at all the Twitter chatter.”

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