By Kristen Kendall
Eleven birthdays have been celebrated, 11 Christmases have come and gone, 11 years worth of first days of school and anniversaries have passed since Sept. 11, 2001 — and yet, for the U.S. there will be no forgetting. Eleven years after militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the U.S., Americans all over the country, as well as here at the College, banded together to ensure that the memory of those who died on that fateful day will not soon be disregarded. Indeed time has inevitably progressed, but this week on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a sense of pride and unity rang true throughout the nation.
In 2002, the 9/11 non-profit group MyGoodDeed founded the 9/11 national day of service. It was established in order to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept.11, both annually and forward looking, through engaging in charitable service on the anniversary of the attack. In 2009, congress designated Sept. 11 as a national day of service under bipartisan law.
Last Tuesday morning, in order to honor the 9/11 National Day of Service, members of the College’s Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement, in conjunction with Cities of Service, hosted a service project to commemorate the day. Volunteers helped clean the area around Hanover Street in Trenton in preparation for the transformation of the neighborhood into a public work of art created by the SAGE coalition, an artist collaborative in Trenton. The show will be titled “Windows of Soul” and take place from Sept. 21-23. The block of run-down homes and businesses will come alive as it is transformed into a massive public art gallery. The effort and time put forth towards the mural project was an opportunity for these College students, as well as the community as a whole, to pay tribute to the rescuers that died in honor, the innocent who were taken from us without warning, and the family members that still today live in grief. The flames and ash that filled the air has long since cleared, but on this one day out of the year time was taken to reflect upon the devastation left in their wake. The world as continued to spin on its axis, inevitably so. Children have grown up, times have changed, but on this one day out of the year Americans have the opportunity to acknowledge that we do not forget and these students ensured that the memory of those lost will not soon fade away as they prepared for this special street in Trenton to be painted in vivid color.
In order to successfully carry out the initiative of the 9/11 day of service, the Bonners dedicated their efforts to Salvatore B. Calabro, an FDNY firefighter who lost his life saving the lives of others on September 11, 2001. Calabro is the beloved Uncle of both Bonner Scholar and member of the College community.