EPHRAIM—A Snow College vice president talked about his personal experiences on 9-11 and challenged students to become better citizens and stop fighting against each other in a speech last week.
Speaking at Snow’s Convocation on Thursday, Carson Howell, vice president for finance and administrative services, quoted from the Athenian Oath:
“We will ever strive for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many. We will unceasingly seek to quicken the sense of public duty. We will revere and obey the city’s laws. We will transmit this city not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
He challenged the students at Snow to take that oath seriously and be the hope that America needs.
Carson was the youngest of five kids growing up. He had three older brothers and a sister. Carson and his brother, Brady, were the best of friends. They did everything together growing up, from playing GI Joe’s to being in theater together. He wanted to be just like his big brother.
Brady was selected as the first presidential management intern in the Office of Naval Intelligence.
His very first assignment was at the Pentagon in 2001. On Sept. 13, Brady was scheduled to fly home to their parent’s homecoming celebration after returning from their LDS Mission.
The events of 9-11 prevented that from happening. Brady was in the Pentagon at the time of the attacks.
Carson was in class at Boise State when the attacks happened. His wife, Michelle, called him every so often with updates and to reassure him that Brady was probably okay. Carson made several phone calls to Brady’s phone and left voicemails hoping and praying that he was just wrapped up in the craziness of it all.
Brady was officially listed as missing on Sept. 13, and his body was identified several days later.
When he returned to work a week later, Carson opened his email to find an unread message from his brother sent the morning before the attacks.
Brady talked about all the things the brothers planned for the future, such as the job they planned to have. All of those things were taken away from them when a jetliner crashed into the Pentagon.
In March 2017, Carson went to Guantanamo Bay for the trials of the terrorists who organized the 9/11 attacks. Each one of the five men being tried had their own defense team made up of attorneys from the Judge Advocate General’s Corp, a military unit.
“As I met with the defense team of those five men, I asked myself how much I still believed in America,” he said. “I wondered if I could set aside pain and my personal loss for these men’s rights that would still apply.”
He turned back to September 12, the day after the attack, and how it turned into an interesting view of America. It turned into a day of unity, a day of mourning and a day of hope in the country.
“We recognized that Democrats weren’t the enemy, that Republicans weren’t the enemy, that hate was the enemy,” he said.
Carson grew up in Sugar City, Idaho and graduated with an associate’s degree in biology education from Ricks College (now BYU Idaho). He completed his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Boise State University.
After the events of 9/11 and an internship in the Idaho’s Governor’s Office, he changed his field of study and earned a master of public administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He returned to Boise State University to complete his Ph.D. in public policy and administration.
Carson has worked for the Arizona legislature, the Utah Governor’s Office, the Utah System of Higher Education and the Idaho State Board of Education. He and his wife, Michelle, have five children.