On the 15th anniversary of the Sep. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Cornell’s resident Republicans and Democrats plan to jointly host a series of commemorative events next weekend.
Olivia Corn ’19, chair of Cornell Republicans, said that this year’s remembrance will include three more events than in previous years, when the clubs only hosted a fundraising event for Ithaca Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“In late April or early May, when we had started [executive board] elections, I came in as chair saying that I wanted to make the 9/11 memorial event really big this year,” Corn said. “Because 9/11 was personally a big deal in my life, I wanted to make sure [this event] would be bigger and better.”
Kevin Kowalewski ’17, the president of Cornell Democrats, added that the events were organized so the Cornell community would have the opportunity to remember and reflect on the tragedy 15 years later.
“It is important that this solemn day is recognized on our campus,” Kowalewski said. “The Cornell community was deeply affected by 9/11, and even 15 years later, this is still a difficult day for many of us. With these memorials, we hope to show that we will never forget those that we lost.”
On Saturday, Cornell Republicans and Cornell Democrats will plant flags on the Arts Quad to spell out “Let’s Roll” — a catchphrase of Todd Beamer, a passenger on the United Airlines flight that was hijacked during the 9/11 attacks. Corn said both student groups hope the flag memorial will honor Beamer and all those who died that day.
There will also be a chimes concert to observe the traditional six moments of silence, which commemorate the plane crashes, the collapses of the two towers and the Pentagon. During the concert at 10:10 a.m., the chimes will also play the “Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
“We hope that when people hear the chimes playing when they normally don’t, they’re going to wonder why that is,” Corn said. “Hopefully they’ll make the connection that the chimes are playing as a way to commemorate a horrible tragedy.”
The two-day commemoration will end with a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 11.
Cornell Democrats — who have collaborated with Cornell Conservatives on 9/11 memorial events in the past — will primarily be involved with the fundraising for Ithaca Veterans of Foreign Wars and with the logistics of the candlelight vigil, Kowalewski said.
“During this contentious election season, I think the cooperation between the Cornell Republicans and the Cornell Democrats sends an crucial message of unity,” he said. “At certain times, we all need to take a break and come together as Americans. While we may disagree on many things, we are always willing to work with each other.”