September 11th memorial in the works
To commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks, several campus organizations and students have planned memorial events for the coming week.
Student Union, the American Culture Studies program and various students have joined forces to organize an exhibit in Olin Library featuring 9/11 memorabilia and create a last-minute memorial service.
These events aim to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks and to promote an atmosphere of community and tolerance on campus. Almost eleven years after the tragedy, many student leaders still believe it is relevant to come together and remember what happened.
“It’s an important day to remember that we have students that come from a variety of different areas, and many students that might have been affected by that day, so it is a call for us to come together to support those members of our community, especially those that were most affected by it,” SU President and senior Julian Nicks said.
Nicks and other SU executives helped senior John Mern put together a memorial event, which will take place on September 9 at 2 p.m. at Ursa’s.
For Mern, organizing 9/11 memorial events is not new. He was the stimulus for the University’s first event in honor of the victims.
“Freshman year when I got here, I was overwhelmed by how much programming there was, just the breadth of it. There was literally an event for everything. But when 9/11 came around, there was nothing. And I was stunned,” Mern said.
He set out to program an event in hopes that it would pull together the University community. Last year, the event commemorated the ten year anniversary of the attacks, featuring student and faculty speakers, a showcase of the campus ROTC and a cappella performances.
Mern said he wanted to plan a 9/11 memorial event because he has many friends and family members in New York, and several friends in the military who were sent into action as a result of the attacks.
Mern and other students, like senior Jannina Phi, plan to put on something similar to last year’s event, complete with performances by a cappella groups and WU-SLam and speeches from both students and faculty.
“People our age, a lot goes on outside our bubble. We are part of what happens in the future. We are involved in things bigger than ourselves. We can’t forget that. This event is how John and I help students remember that,” Phi said.
The American Culture Studies department has also planned an exhibit in Olin Library that features all kinds of 9/11 memorabilia and artifacts, including a cover of Student Life published several days after the attacks. For the issue, the editors decided to reprint articles verbatim from an edition published shortly after Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“What I love about this object is it suggests, it gives us a glimpse into the moment of their initial reaction, what did students feel, how did they deal with the shock they were feeling,” Dr. Heidi Kolk, an AMCS professor, said.
The exhibit, part of a larger collection of works named “American Life,” will open at 4 p.m. on September 11 near the Special Collections in Olin Library. The American Culture Studies department will provide an opening ceremony with speakers and information about the exhibit.