Ohio University Administrator Recalls Cousin Lost In 9-11 Attacks

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Everyone felt a sense of loss on 9-11-01. There was the loss of security, the loss of safety and the loss of people. Many felt immense sadness for those who lost their lives that day. But for those who actually knew someone killed in the terrorist attacks, the sense of loss was overwhelming.

Ohio University's Vice Provost for Diversity, Access and Equity Brian Bridges was one of those who experienced personal devestation.

"To have this sort of tragedy happen where I was born and had spent many summers was traumatic enough, but then to learn that a family member was caught up in this destruction sent me into despair for weeks," says Bridges. Bridges' cousin, Jakki Young, worked in the World Trade Center.

Bridges' parents and siblings live in Brooklyn and Harlem and he spent a large part of the day trying to reach them, to make sure they were safe. While trying to find them, he couldn't stay away from the images on television.

"I watched the media for hours because I was looking for good news, hope in the midst of a terrifying and uncertain situation. My heart went out to those who lost their lives that day and the first responders who never skipped a beat in their pursuit to grasp life from what appeared to be a hulking rubble of lifelessness," says Bridges.

He eventually located his family and found out they were safe, which brought relief. But, even after 10 years, the pain of losing his cousin is something he can't get over.

"Each year on September 11, I think of my cousin Jakki, the life stolen from her prematurely and the surreal nature of the day. It’s still difficult to believe it happened," says Bridges.

Renea Morris, the head of Ohio University's Communications and Marketing department, says the day shook her to her core.

"September 11, 2001 is one of those days in history where you will always remember where you were, who you were with and how you felt when it happened," says Morris. "I was on the 19th floor of a building in downtown Cincinnati, huddled in an office with about a dozen of my co-workers watching the news in disbelief. Someone’s sister lived in the area where Flight 93 went down and she told us about the crash before the national news reported it."

Even though Morris says she knew she was deeply affected by the events of that day, it wasn't until she looked at her desk calender months later that she realized how 9-11-01 impacted who she was and her life forever.

"Months after that event, I noticed that I had not changed the daily calendar on my desk – it was still on September 11. This was not only symbolic but also indicative of the real, deep trauma this tragedy had on me," says Morris.