A crowd gathered on the Eastman Quad under gray skies yesterday morning at 8:45 a.m., waiting to hear the sounds of the carillon bells that would mark the one year anniversary of the moment when the world was forever changed by the events of September 11. As they were one year ago, the UR community was again drawn together in mourning.
“It’s nice to know that there is a large community on campus that can bond,” senior Christina deVries said. “In the face of adversity, there are people there for you.”
In an effort to retain normalcy, the university did not cancel classes for the day. “Nothing from either the federal government or from the state suggested that ordinary activities for the day should be suspended and there is much to be said for not allowing the events of Sept. 11 from changing our important activities,” President Thomas Jackson said.
The university held classes campus-wide, but a few professors chose to cancel classes for personal reasons. Associate Professor of History Celia Applegate cancelled her class to participate in a nationwide singing of Mozart’s Requiem.
Though most classes continued, the university provided a number of ways for students, faculty and staff to reflect and remember. “We wanted to provide a comfortable environment in different ways and in different places across the campus to allow the entire campus community to participate in whatever way each feels comfortable,” University Intercessor and member of the planning committee Kathy Sweetland said.
In accordance with a request by New York Governor George Pataki, moments of silence were observed at 8:45 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:59 a.m. and 10:29 a.m. to mark the times when the towers were struck and then again when they fell.
After the first moment of silence, the NROTC stood in formation as the national anthem was played by University Carillonneur Daniel Harrison from the tower of Rush Rhees Library. The bells rang again at 10:29 a.m. to mark the collapse of the second tower.
Throughout the day, counselors were available and the Interfaith Chapel was open. Visitors to the chapel were invited to leave a memento or write their thoughts in a book near the door.
In Wilson Commons, projection screens carried coverage of national ceremonies and the Rochester Scottish Bagpipers performed at noon.
Just like last year, white ribbons were distributed. “We chose the color white to symbolize peace, hope and freedom,” Director of Wilson Commons Anne-Marie Algiers said. “We just wanted to make sure there were opportunities for members of the community to come together on this difficult day and to have hope for future peace.”
The ribbons were made by members of the Community Service Coalition and were given away, but suggested donations of $1 went to the Jeremy Glick Memorial Scholarship Fund. Glick, Class of 1993, was a passenger on United Airlines flight 93 ? the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
A total of six UR alumni died in the attacks of September 11. In addition to Glick, Zack Zeng, class of 1995, Brendan Dolan, class of 1986, Aram Iskenderian, class of 1982 and Jeffrey Smith, class of 1987 were killed in the World Trade Centers. Jean Hoadley Peterson, class of 1969 was also a passenger on flight 93.
In remembrance of these alumni and of all the victims of September 11, a memorial has been planned for Meliora Plaza.
Lolita Jackson, a World Trade Center survivor, spoke in Hubbell Auditorium at 8 p.m. She was on the 70th floor of the South Tower and spoke of her experience as one that reaffirmed her faith. “I have always considered myself blessed,” she said, “but I’m even more conscious and aware of that now.”
The day’s events were capped with a multi-faith service that took place in the Interfaith Chapel at 8:00 p.m. The service featured readings, prayers and music from a variety of religious traditions and was called “Service of Hope and Remembrance.”
“The observance allows students a place where they can get in touch with their own faith as a source of strength,” Protestant Chaplain Greg Osterberg said. “It is also a reminder that there is a community here, and across the nation, of people of goodwill who are willing to support each other.”
The service reinforced campus unity and celebrated diversity. “Students will see that as a university and as a nation we are a community of wonderful diversity in race, culture, religion and opinion, this being one of our greatest strengths,” Osterberg said.
Jackson agreed. In his opening remarks at the service, he pointed to the importance of welcoming differences and remembering the unity that was felt across the country one year ago. “We should reflect on what bound us together that day,” he said.
The service ended in a candlelight walk to the sight of the future September 11 memorial at Meliora Plaza.
Most who attended the services and participated in the day’s events felt that they were helpful, but some felt that it was not adequate. “Nothing will ever be enough, but it makes us feel better to have people who are there helping and supporting us,” freshman Sonia Pinzon said.
Though the day was full of sadness and solemnity, many students found hope in remembering. “Going through today was full of hope because you see how people are dealing with it,” graduate student Joe Lanning said.
“I think all of us have a new sense of the uncertainties and risks of the world,” Jackson said. “I think that we have also learned the vital importance of tolerance of all members of our community and the willingness to listen and to learn in the best tradition of our intellectual heritage.”
Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.