- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The phone calls started midmorning and continued into the afternoon for Fernandina Beach, Fla., travel agent Barbara Thoney.
The voices — breathless, angry, frightened — came from travelers who were stranded, canceling reservations or attempting to make new plans in the aftermath of yesterday's brazen airborne terrorists attacks.
"They were freaking out, saying they were driving, they were taking the train, anything but flying," said Mrs. Thoney, who like many of her clients was unnerved by the disaster that shook the nation's sense of security. Mrs. Thoney joined millions around the nation who reacted in stunned disbelief to yesterday's airborne terrorist attacks. Across the states, commerce was suspended and schools and businesses closed amid security concerns and in deference to the victims of the crisis.
At the University of Florida in Gainesville, officials opened special rooms for students to meet with counselors, and the Campus Ministries Cooperative convened an interfaith memorial service. By midafternoon, two bloodmobiles opened, and students lined up 50 deep to make a contribution, school officials said.
At the University of Oregon in Eugene, student body President Nelda Brooklyn was awakened by a roommate who knocked on her door and told her the World Trade Center had been bombed. Miss Brooklyn, 20, who has relatives in New York, was unable to reach them by phone but professed "utter disbelief" at the stunning news.
When she later arrived at her campus office, a somber voice mail was waiting from the school's president, who called the attacks matters "of grave concern."
"We are all affected by these actions, no matter how distant we may seem from them," Oregon President Dave Frohmayer said in his message.
While he urged a sense of calm and normalcy, Natasha Nowakowski, 30, who is a partner in an Internet start-up business on the school's campus, said the day would be anything but ordinary. "Today will always be a day of infamy," she said. "It will never be the same."
Residents of Texas were stunned by the attacks but showed up in droves at Reunion Arena in Dallas and Carter Exhibit Hall in Fort Worth waiting to give blood. By 4 p.m. more than 3,000 had done so.
Churches overflowed.
"We pray for those innocent people who can never again pray with us," said Gretchen Stark, a secretary for a Fort Worth law firm who attended service at a downtown Baptist church. My God, is the world falling apart?"
The Bank of America Tower, Dallas' tallest building at 80 stories, was evacuated and closed. Several Houston and Fort Worth buildings were closed, as well.
FBI officials said they thought the Dallas airport, second busiest in the nation and located close to American Airlines' headquarters, might be a secondary target.
In New Orleans, 17-year-old Jessica Henderson was on her way to the Armed Forces Recruiting Station when she learned of the attack over the radio. The recruiting station ended up closing in the wake of the tragedy, but Jessica, a high school senior, says she wasn't scared off by the prospect of going to war against terrorists.
"I was proud to be at the recruiting station when it happened," she said. "I got really angry at the people who had done it, and I felt determined to do the right thing."
In Colorado, about 2,000 miles from the devastation, the state went into a virtual lockdown. Colorado Gov. Bill Owens compared the tragedy to that of the Pearl Harbor bombing and urged a strong U.S. response to the terrorism.
Although the schools remained opened, attendance took a dive as many parents picked up their children early. "Had I known about this before I dropped my kids off, I would have kept them home with me," said Lori Schlank of Littleton.
With sports events and concerts canceled, many Colorado churches quickly scheduled services and prayer vigils for last night.
Some families opted to stay home. "It's a good night to just stay at home and snuggle with your kids," said Mrs. Schlank.
Carter Dougherty in Oregon, Hugh Aynesworth in Texas and Valerie Richardson in Colorado contributed to this report.


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