COLLEGE: Indiana University
Hands trembling, I dialed the phone.
“Hello?” the voice answered.
“Yes,” I squeaked out. “I’d like to speak with Mr. Vieltorf.”
“This is him.”
“Um, yes, I’m Lindsay and I’m editor-in-chief of the newspaper at your daughter’s school. I heard you were a survivor of 9/11 and I was wondering if I could interview you.”
Throughout the 45-minute phone call, I listened to his story. I heard him speak about feeling the plane hit the South Tower where he attended a job-training session that morning. About rushing to leave the building. About the fiery destruction outside the building. About the collapse of the tower five minutes after his exit.
I hung up the phone in amazement. My lowly duty to my school newspaper had allowed me to publicize a story about the 10th anniversary of one of our greatest national tragedies. I wasn’t just reading stories about 9/11; I was writing them. Suddenly, my job was important.
That realization filled me with irrepressible excitement. As I pieced the interview together into my story, my mind wandered to my future — this, performing a service to society and spreading knowledge in the vocation of journalism, was the only thing I wanted to do with my life.
Since then, I have taken many opportunities to report on important stories. When the shooting ravaged Chardon High School, I drove to one of the victims’ funerals to take pictures and report and helped publish a three-page story about school shootings and safety at our own school.
And just last month, as I stood in the Newseum, a museum in our nation’s capital honoring journalists, and gazed upon the bullet-ravaged truck of a journalist reporting amid conflict, my calling was reaffirmed. I want to do something important.
Even if it just starts with a phone call.