As the media-dubbed ?Attack on America? ensued Tuesday, the USF community gathered across campus in front of television sets to witness one of the nations? greatest tragedies.
The initial reaction from students was shock.
Junior Jason Alexander first heard the news on 93.3 WFLZ.
?I didn?t know what was going on,? he said. ?It was so shocking.?
Alexander was one of many students attempting to dial out on cell phones but having a difficult time due to circuits being busy. He was trying to find out if his son?s school had been released for the day. Meanwhile, he wondered about the future.
?It makes you wonder what we?re going to do ? if we?re going to war,? he said.
Senior Starr Wren said she had also first heard the news on the radio while driving to USF.
?I automatically thought, ?It has to be a terrorist attack,?? said Wren.
Her instructor had canceled class, and Wren watched the news unfold on the big-screen TV in the gym. ?It?s not knowing if something else is going to happen next,? she said.
Wren said a steady flow of between 20 and 30 people had been stopping by while she was there. Wren was one of the many viewers waiting for a statement and course of action from President George W. Bush.
?I think it?s a make-or-break situation for Bush at this point,? Wren said. ?What an easy way to shut down a major financial center in the world.?
Winell deMesa, an Air Force cadet, said when he originally heard the news, he thought a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and didn?t think much of it. But after he found out both buildings had collapsed, he too, was shocked.
?I hope we give hell to whoever did this to us,? deMesa said. ?(But) I hope people don?t jump to conclusions.?
Meanwhile, the University Police Department stood outside the Library answering questions from students, many relating to whether classes were being canceled.
?We?re waiting on this information also,? said Sgt. Mike Purcell. ?Everything is changing by the minute.?
Senior Chris Alas said he is concerned about his uncles who are firemen and police officers in New York City.
?It was devastating for everybody,? Alas said.
He said at first, he was concerned Florida may be a target for additional attacks because President Bush was in the state Tuesday morning. When he learned the assaults were kamikaze-like attacks, he said he wasn?t worried any longer.
Still, like others, Alas remained glued to one of many televisions to learn what would happen next.