Victims honored at 15th anniversary of 9/11

[Erin Fitzmaurice]

Members of the FSU community honored the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks during a commemoration ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Memorial Grove.

The 15th anniversary ceremony, which was sparsely attended, was sponsored by Vice President for Enrollment and Student Development Lorretta Holloway and the Veterans club. 

Holloway discussed how 9/11 has shaped FSU students’ upbringing.  She said, “We live in a post 9/11 world, but our students only know that post 9/11 world.” 

As a result, FSU students only know an America where Homeland Security exists and where airport security is tightly regulated, she explained.

Holloway recalled the day of the attacks saying, “I remember that day here on campus and when we were all sent home and having to discuss that at the dinner table with my children,”

She remembered “Having my 4-year-old asking me why it happened and all I could say to her was, ‘because they hate us’ and then bursting into tears.” 

She said, “Through the grief, we all pulled together.

“There was so much love that spewed out of that hate – so many stories of random acts of kindness and bravery.”

She said students and faculty should honor the victims of 9/11 by loving and helping each other, the same way people did during and directly following the attacks. 

“What we owe them is to love each other,” Holloway said. “When they took down the plane before it could hit another target. When they were going back into the smoke to help others. We owe it to them to build on that love and loyalty.”   

Following Holloway’s remarks, members of the Veterans club named off 62 countries represented by the 2,977 people who lost their lives that day.

On the walkway from Crocker Hall to Memorial Grove flags were placed to recognize those countries.

Holloway said she wanted students to understand that more than just American lives were lost in the attacks.

“There was sort of this idea that all of these Americans died, which is true … but there are a lot of people who carried other passports,” Holloway said. 

Senior Gabriela Escamilla said, “I thought it was really cool how they do represent everyone that we lost in 9/11. It’s a good visual representation because there were so many. … It means a lot and it’s a good way to remember it.”

The flags in total cost $1,500 Holloway said.

The cost was paid for through donations from Enrollment and Student Development, Dean of Students and SGA.

After the commemoration, students and faculty were invited to the Center for Inclusive Excellence to watch the documentary “102 Minutes That Changed America,” which details the events that occurred the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Junior Kathleen Schipelliti said, “Though I do not remember much of the attack because I was younger, I felt it was important to go and honor those who lost their lives. It was also a nice way to thank the veterans that were present.”

Schipelliti was disappointed more people didn’t attend the event.

Veterans club president and sophomore Brandon Bledsoe said, “I thought it went pretty well for what it was. It wasn’t too big, and it wasn’t what we would describe as a mess. It went off well.”   

In addition to the ceremony, a number of other memorial tributes occurred throughout campus.

On Sunday, Heineman Ecumeincal Center rang its bells at approximately 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m. and 10:03 a.m., marking the times the planes crashed. Each bell ring served as a salute to the individuals who lost their lives in each of the flights.

Holloway said since the construction of the Memorial Grove, she will not let a Sept. 11 pass without some form of commemoration. 

“Unless I’m out of the country, I’m not going to let another September 11 pass where I don’t do something. Where we at least … read the names of the countries [or] have a moment of silence. … That should just be a regular thing,” she said.

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