Members of the Cornell community crowded into Willard Straight Hall’s Memorial Room Sunday evening to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Members of the Cornell community gathered Sunday evening to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Original plans for a candlelight vigil on Ho Plaza were moved indoors after rain began late in the afternoon.Students, faculty, staff, Cornell United Religious Work chaplains and various members of Cornell’s ROTC programs crowded into Willard Straight Hall’s Memorial Room at 6 p.m. to listen to speakers reflect on the effects of Sept. 11. The Cornell Glee Club and Chorus also performed.“I think that people tend to forget or don’t take it very seriously, but a lot of people lost their lives. There are a lot of heroes,” Tyler Hale ’12 said. “This day means people coming together to remember what happened and all the people that lost their lives and that volunteered to lose their lives that day.”President David Skorton began the memorial service with a speech, in which he both recalled Cornellians’ initial reactions to the attacks and celebrated their intellectual diligence in following weeks. “We are this evening not in crisis, but in remembrance,” Skorton said. “But we still need the strengths in both heart and mind to understand the events of a decade ago, and most important, to work for a future of peace.”In her speech, Student Assembly President Natalie Raps ’12 quoted Cornell students who had been on campus during the attacks while giving her own personal account of the tragedy. Raps urged attendees to reflect In her speech, Student Assembly President Natalie Raps ’12 quoted Cornell students who had been on campus during the attacks while giving her own personal account of the tragedy. Raps urged attendees to reflect upon their memories of Sept. 11 and to share them with others as a unifying experience. Sara Rahman ’12, president of the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture, recalled her personal struggle with her identity in the bitter atmosphere following the terrorist attacks.“I didn’t know that someone had hijacked my religion and had killed and injured thousands of innocent people. Though I didn’t know it at the time, my race and my religion were no longer my personal identity, but a political reality,” she said.Recognizing this new political reality, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly President Evan Cortens grad spoke to the power of the post-Sept. 11 generation. “As the first generation of post-9/11 students, we can, through our actions, choose what kind of world we want to live in. We can choose a world of fear and uncertainty, of doubt and suspicion, or a world of hope and optimism, of trust and communication,” Cortens said.Ending the vigil, Reverend Kenneth Clark, director of Cornell United Religious Work, emphasized the perseverance of life and community that followed the devastating tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks. “Clouds of shock and grief precipitated by the fires of fear and anxiety pervaded our spirits nationally and throughout the globe, making 9/11 a day of infamy,” Clark said. “Yet amidst prevailing images of death, destruction and devastation, there were countervailing images affirming life. Life persisting against death.”
Original Author: Dennis Liu