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Sunday, September 25, 2011

6 congressmen on campus yesterday

Six members of Congress were at UIS yesterday for an official congressional subcommittee hearing on rural broadband arranged by Congressman Tim Johnson (R-Urbana). It's common to have public officials on campus -- because one of UIS's big strengths is educating about government. Much of what we do is state-related. So to have this field hearing with six congressmen from four states on campus was unusual and special. Chancellor Koch sat casually with them over a sandwich lunch in our restaurant. One of them noted during the hearing that our town's Abraham Lincoln used the latest fast technology of his era because he used the telegraph every day during the Civil War and received updates from his generals regularly via telegraph. ... And I have to admit, when I was driving these six men to a seed company and then the airport, I was saying to myself, "Don't crash this van, Ed." I think we'll have more pictures posted soon.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

My 9-11 story

I got on an Amtrak train in Springfield at 6:30 am, headed for Chicago. Cell phones were a bit less common then; I didn't have one, but others did and soon enough, there was still plenty of buzz with people talking about the Trade Center and Pentagon and security issues in Chicago. I heard words like lockdown and "vacate." I learned that the Sears Tower had emptied of people, and so had most of downtown. When I got to Chicago, it was like a ghost town not only around Union Station and the Sears Tower, but everywhere. There were "closed" signs on nearly all the businesses and buildings. I went to one of the few open restaurants to watch video of what had happened. I got the details two or three hours after the rest of the country. Everybody was watching, of course. I had a meeting scheduled but I knew nobody would be there, so I didn't go. I called a friend in the Loop, and he asked me to bring him some food because he couldn't find any places open near his building. So I did. Luckily for me, I had a return ticket to Springfield that evening, and the train actually ran on time. Looking back, I'm surprised it did. I wish I had kept by train ticket stubs from that day. What's your 9-11 story?

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