News

The day the earth stood still

U of C students and staff spent Tuesday glued to TVs as horror unfolded across the border

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Students crowded around televisions in hallways and classrooms on Tuesday, mesmerized by footage of the collapsing twin towers of the World Trade Center.

"I was absolutely horrified... it was just such a shock," said Bonnie Leung, Vice President Finance of the Political Science Association. "You would never think something of this magnitude would hit the U.S."

Unable to comprehend the horror of the attacks, many viewers compared the news reports to Hollywood films and other forms or mass media.

"They start[ed] showing pictures of these planes exploding on these buildings and the whole building coming down," said Political Science student Ian Smedley. "I thought it was like something out of a Tom Clancy novel."

As the crowds grew, campus services were on hand to assist students and faculty members deal with the news. The Chaplains' Center conducted prayer services, and counselling centres were open full time.

"It's horrible, it's numbing, almost," said of C President Harvey Weingarten. "It's hard to contemplate this whole thing. And your heart goes out to these people. It makes one remarkably sad."

Campus Security did not feel that the attacks posed any threat to security at the University of Calgary or that distraught students were likely to initiate any trouble, yet they remained in constant communication with city police and student organizations on campus.

Students are being urged by government and health care officials to donate blood to help the victims of Tuesday's tragedy. Local blood clinics extended their regular hours to meet the increased demand and accommodate the thousands of Canadians that have responded to their plea for help.

The Calgary International Airport played host to 2,300 hundred passengers diverted from their original U.S. destinations. Elsewhere in the city, buildings in the downtown were either closed or limiting access. Hospitals and clinics scrambled to clear beds in case they were asked to provide aid to the thousands of victims that now crowd hospitals south of the border.

For information on blood donation clinics or relief efforts, students can contact the Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111. Information is also available at www.redcross.ca.

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