Students, faculty and staff gathered on the steps of Loser Hall last Thursday morning during a ceremony sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) to remember and commemorate the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that will forever be in our memories,” Barbara Gitenstein, president of the College, said, as she addressed the crowd.
“It changed our lives,” Gitenstein said. “It changed the world that we lived in. It changed everything,” she added.
Although the office of Campus Life oversaw last year’s memorial, SGA was offered the task this year.
Christina Puglia, SGA president, said that SGA undertook the task well.
“We tried to keep the same format,” Puglia said. “Dr. Gitenstein has provided support by speaking. (The College) is helping any way they can.”
In addition to Gitenstein, Puglia also delivered a speech to the crowd.
The Army Reserved Officer Training Core (ROTC), contributed to the ceremony by providing the colors.
ROTC cadet Audrey Hsieh, senior international studies major, read a letter from Christine Ferer, who was widowed on Sept. 11.
“They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf,” Ferer’s letter said.
“The reason seemed clear to me: 200,000 troops had been sent half way around the world to stabilize a kind of culture that breeds terrorists like those who I believe began World War III on Sept. 11, 2001.”
The crowd listened silently as the details of Ferer’s trip to Iraq unfolded through correspondence.
The ceremony ended with the ringing of the bells in Green Hall and a moment of silence.
Overall, Puglia said she was confident with the ceremony. The only setback SGA faced was in their request for classes to be cancelled during the memorial.
“We wanted classes to be cancelled for that time (because) we thought that it would be appropriate for something this important,” Puglia said.
Ellie Fogarty, executive assistant to the Provost, said that cancelling classes for the time block of the memorial was considered, but since Sept. 11 is not yet a national holiday, administrators felt it unnecessary to pull students from class.
Despite the College’s insistance that Sept. 11 is not a national holiday, other institutions have acknowledged the date as Patriot Day.
Approximately 900 students were scheduled to attend classes during the memorial.
Puglia said that having classes would not damper the ceremony.
“(The administration) did say that if students really feel that if they want to go that professors should be accepting of that,” she said.
Puglia also said that there was a good turnout despite the fact that classes were held.
The audience extended from Loser Hall to the Music Building, and, according to Puglia, was similar to the size of the crowd that attended last year’s ceremony.