On 9/11, Fear Reached Into the Heartland

Out of harm's way, Middle Americans still feel an innocence lost.

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Just down Main Street a few hours later, nearly 500 students walked outside after a special campus forum called at Illinois Wesleyan University. Quietly, they broke into small groups, each with its own faculty counselor. They sat in circles on the still-warm grass long after the sun went down on this infamous day and talked about what its events meant to them at that weighted moment in their young lives.

Illinois Wesleyan President Minor Myers, whose brother walked out of the World Trade Center and across the street for coffee just seconds before the first plane crashed, watched them disperse. He had expected "25, maybe 50" of the school's 2,000 undergraduates to come to air their concerns and fears on such short notice.

The large turnout shows the sensitivity and caring nature of his students, Myers said. And by his measure it proves that in such a tragedy, "There is no heartland. There is no North. There is no South. We are all touched by this, as a nation."