I like to say that I lived in four places during college -- three dorms and the student newspaper office. The three dorms were the first three things to be torn down during the renovation process. I found out several weeks ago that the fourth place -- the newspaper -- is next on the list. The building our offices were in won't be demolished, but the inside will be gutted and remodeled for other uses. And with that, another piece of my life in Oakdale will vanish.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11th, the Oakdale newspaper printed a full-page-sized American flag in one of its editions. The secretary in the student publications office hung it in the hall outside her office that very day. "God Bless America," it read.
Walking through the student publications hall for a final time last month, the walls were stripped of signs and bulletin boards. Doors to every office and closet were either open or unlocked -- with many of the doors missing their hardware. A place that I knew to be filled with life now felt very empty and abandoned. Only a handful of reminders remained from my time there. The first one that I noticed -- the only thing left hanging in the hall -- was that American flag.