September 11, 2012

Cornellians Commemorate 11th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

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Cornell students and faculty joined millions of Americans on Tuesday to reflect on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Prof. Ross Brann, Near Eastern studies, recalled the terrifying moment he heard about the attacks.

“I was sitting in my Cornell office preparing for class when my son, a freshman at NYU, called me and told me to put CNN on my desktop screen. Students began filing into my office to watch those horrifying events unfold,” Brann said.

Soon after, Brann had to leave his office to teach a 10:10 a.m. class on Islamic Spain. Instead of beginning the lecture, he “immediately took the diverse class to the campus store to sit together on the floor and watch along with hundreds of Cornellians,” he said.

Other Cornellians chose to highlight  how the tragedy brought Americans closer together.

“9/11 is definitely a day when both Democrats and Republicans put their views aside and come together as Americans to commemorate those who risk their lives to defend our freedoms,” said Jessica Reif ’14, chair of the Cornell Republicans.

Like Reif, Jessie Palmer ’13, president of the Cornell Democrats, said that Sept. 11 reminds her how Americans united to support one another in the wake of the attacks.

What is memorable about Sept.11 is how the nation came together in the aftermath of the attacks, Palmer said, adding that she feels that “that sense of community has been maintained” since 2001.

“While the event itself was incredibly tragic, a lot of community members have rallied around each other,” Palmer said. “9/11 really illustrates the ability of Americans to come together to support one another.”

In addition to reminding Americans of the importance of unity, Cornellians said each anniversary of 9/11 provides an opportunity to think about how to work toward a more peaceful, tolerant community. Brann said that, after the attacks, professors and students in the Department of Near Eastern Studies organized outreach efforts against racism on campus, in local schools and in synagogues, churches and mosques from Ithaca to Binghamton, N.Y.

Original Author: Erica Boorstein