Where September 11 has led us
Ten years later, September 11 continues to affect us in innumerable ways. Professor Abraham Unger and writer Roz Noonan ’80 offer two examples from the Wagner community.
A Brooklyn native, Unger was in a Ph.D. program at Fordham in the fall of 2001, while also working with a Jewish community organization and a synagogue in Tribeca. His parents had recently moved to Lower Manhattan.
“So 9/11 was particularly immediate to me on a personal level and a professional level,” he says. “When it became evident that Staten Island had suffered the most in New York City, it seemed clear that there is where one had to pastor.” In late 2001, he heard about an open rabbinical position in Tottenville, Staten Island. He took it as his call to serve. This move also led him to Wagner College, where he now serves as campus rabbi and assistant professor of government and politics. This year, the National Alumni Association recognized his spiritual contributions by giving him the Rev. Lyle Guttu Award.
Roz Noonan ’80, on the other hand, made the difficult decision to leave New York City after September 11. In 2001, she lived in Queens with her husband, Mike, a police sergeant, and their two children, Carly, 6, and Alex, 4. Despite Noonan’s efforts to shelter the children, they felt the fright of 9/11 deeply. Three years later, Carly was still having frequent nightmares about terrorists chasing her. Life in New York was too stressful, and Mike was ready to retire from the police department. The family moved to Oregon in 2004.
A freelance writer who has authored scores of juvenile and “chick-lit” titles, Noonan released her first novel under her own name in 2009. Loosely based on the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who enlisted in the Army and was killed in Afghanistan, One September Morning features a scene in which Wagner students see the World Trade Center attacks from Harborview Hall. It was September 11, Noonan says, that first got her to thinking about “writing something more substantial.”
Ten years later, September 11 continues to affect us in innumerable ways. Read more in “Below the Surface.” And write back to us with your thoughts and stories.
— Laura Barlament, Editor, Wagner Magazine