Campus finds ways to remember 9/11

By Katie Landeck

Daily Collegian – Sept. 9, 2011 | Daily Collegian – Sept. 12, 2001

Courtesy of MCT
A decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 stunned the country, people are once again being brought together to remember the tragedy.

Today, on the front steps of the Student Union at noon at the University of Massachusetts, students and religious leaders will gather for the “Interfaith Commemoration of Sept. 11 … Remembering 9/11, Building Our Future Together,” sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Religious Affairs Committee and the Muslim Students Association.

“Just to be clear, it is not like a religious service, it is a commemoration,” said Larry Goldbaum, the director of the Office Religious and Spiritual Life.

The event will feature speakers from several religious organizations on campus and other organizations, including Dean of Students Enku Gelaye; SGA president Yevin Roh; Director of the Newman Catholic Center Reverend Gary Dailey; Director of the UMass Hillel House Rabbi Saul Perlmutter; and President of the Muslim Students Association Noman Khanani. Others will be speaking as well.

“The purpose is just to do something very visible to mark the 10th anniversary, but equally important, or even more important, is to come together as a community,”said Goldbaum. “To look and remember what happened, but take steps to building our future together as a community.”

According to Goldbaum, the event will try to recognize all of the ways the UMass community was affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. It is open to all students.

On Sept. 11 – this Sunday – the chapel bells are scheduled to ring out at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 10:10 a.m., the times that the planes crashed. When that happens, the Air Force ROTC will be standing vigil by the flag at Memorial Hall. Sean Baker, cadet wing commander of the Air Force detachment on campus, describes it as “a symbolic show of honor and respect.”

“This day isn’t about politics, it’s not about war and it’s not about religion; this day belongs to those innocents who were senselessly killed for living in this country. Our duty is to this country and its people and that is why we are here to honor them,” said Baker.

Community members are invited to attend the vigil and pay their respects.

In addition to standing vigil, members of the ROTC will travel to New York City later this month to visit the site of the Sept. 11 Memorial and see the construction of the new World Trade Center.

“The World Trade Center is the symbol of the attacks of Sept. 11 and it is important to us to pay our respects and honor those who fell on that day,” said Baker. “Though the attack on the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania are equally as significant, New York City, due to its location and meaning, seemed right.”

Also happening Sunday morning to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks is the “9/11 Never Forget Project,” sponsored by the UMass Republican Club and the UMass Democrats.

“Although we are political groups on campus, we are all American and everyone should forget about politics for a day and remember those who were killed on 9/11 … and the horrors that unfolded,” said Nathan Lamb, president of the Republican Club.

For the event, about 300 flags will be placed in the grass between the Hasbrouck building and the Campus Center and a moment of silence will be held at 8:46 a.m. to remember those who lost their lives. The group will then take some of the flags and walk into Amherst with them.

“We are doing it to remember and encourage everyone to take some time to remember the innocent Americans killed on 9/11 and how we felt as a country and as individuals on 9/11,” said Lamb.

According to Lamb, the idea for the event came from the Young America’s Foundation, an organization that teaches conservative principles.

Later in the afternoon, two ceremonies will be held in Amherst. At 12:45 p.m., Amherst Fire Department Chaplain Bruce Arbour will lead a ceremony on the North Common. Incorporated into the ceremony will be the nationwide moment of silence requested by Congress, said Amherst Select Board Chairwoman Stephanie O’Keeffe.

A procession of Muslims, Christians, Quaker, Buddhist monks and other faiths will start at the Amherst Town Common at 4 p.m. and end at the Grace Episcopal Church at 4:30 p.m. for an interfaith service.

According to a press release from the First Congregational Church of Amherst, the service will include reading the names of some of the victims, sharing prayers and readings from different faiths and a litany of healing and hope. There will, however, be no speeches at that event.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]