UWL senior misses Brussels attacks by only 12 hours


At around 8 a.m. on the morning of March 22, 2016 Brussels, Belgium, was held victim of three violent acts of terrorism. Two explosions shook the Zaventem International Airport at about 8 a.m., while one blast struck the Maelbeek Metro Station about an hour later. There would have been a third bomb if it weren’t for the heroic work of the Brussels police force, who uncovered the undetonated bomb in a search of a Brussels home hours after the initial explosion. These heinous acts have left more than 30 people dead, with numbers as high as 200 left wounded.

UW-La Crosse is not a neighbor to Belgium, but in today’s interconnected world everything is much closer to home than it seems. UW-L student Rachel Weigand is currently studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain. Weigand was traveling in Brussels on Monday, March 21, 2016 but happened to leave for Amsterdam about 12 hours before the attacks on Brussels.

Rachel was contacted to ensure her wellbeing and to get her perspective of the entire situation. When asked about the environment in Europe, Rachel said, “Many of the people are absolutely angry at the fact another attack occurred.” Rachel additionally commented on the increase of security that she has been reading about across various European countries.

Rachel also voiced her feelings about being in Amsterdam so recently after the attacks saying, “One thing that did worry me that not many people may know is that there were shots fired in Amsterdam Central Station which is a three minute walk from our hostel… Turns out the shots were fired in an arrest attempt on a suspect for the third Brussels bomber.” Rachel is currently safe and still in Amsterdam for the time being.

A situation like this affects global citizens all around the world, even right here at UW-L. Students at UW-L have a general sense of tragedy and unjust loss. UW-L Junior Arianna Filiatrault commented on the attacks and Muslim world relations, “I think its heart breaking, one of too many attacks on innocent lives. It’s also extremely sad that extremist view points are being attributed with an entire group of people”.

UW-L Junior Colton Weber commented on the terrorist attacks, “It is really disturbing that the entire world is now at war with terrorists. It strikes feat into innocent people around the world.”

Keep your eyes on the Racquet for more information about Brussels and for more breaking news.

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