Students, faculty, and staff marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks with on-campus events aimed at honoring victims and eliciting questions. A student-organized event attracted hundreds of students to the flagpole on the lawn of Miller Library on the night of Sept. 11. The faculty-led event brought many voices and many perspectives to Pulver Pavilion Sept. 12.
The Pulver event, Reflections of September 11, was the first in a yearlong series of interdisciplinary events called Reflections of Terrorism organized by professors Lydia Moland (philosophy) and Cyrus Shahan (German and Russian). From newspaper stories and presidential speeches to excerpts of the USA Patriot Act and the 9/11 Commission Report, the readings were aimed at starting a yearlong conversation. “We wanted to have a wide range of perspectives on not only what happened that day but the consequences of it,” Moland said — from the lives affected to the resulting legislation.
In 10-minute increments, 31 faculty and staff members participated, and managed to stay close to the schedule, thanks in part to a few cutting their readings short. “No one didn’t show up,” said Moland. “When does that happen?”
The dramatic voices permeated Cotter Union — from the Spa, where students sat to eat and catch up with each other to the student post office and beyond. Some students stopped, others continued on their way, but most turned their heads to see where the voices were coming from.
Some readings were emotional, others transactional. Professor of English Jennifer Finney Boylan read the Sept. 12, 2001 New York Times article about the attacks: “While doctors and nurses at hospitals across the city tended to hundreds of damaged people, a disquieting sense grew throughout the day at other triage centers and emergency rooms that there would, actually, be less work: the morgues were going to be busiest.” She paused and took a long breath.
Director of the Colby Libraries Clem Guthro discussed the Patriot Act as it relates to library usage at Colby. Reference Librarian Sara Prahl, who curated her own selection of the Times’s Portraits of Grief profiles, lead an evening event about using Colby’s guide to researching terrorism.
The night before, the Miller Library quad, illuminated by candles, was packed with students. The September 11th Remembrance Ceremony was organized by the Student Government Association (SGA), the Pugh Community Board, and the Office of Campus Life, who invited all members of the Colby community to honor the victims of the attacks. It seemed most students accepted the invitation.
SGA co-presidents Laura Maloney ’12 and Justin Rouse ’12 opened the event with their own memories of that Tuesday morning 10 years ago. They spoke of their confusion, fear, and sadness. After their stories, the senior members of Colby’s a cappella groups joined together to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The president of Colby’s Amnesty International chapter and the leaders of Colby’s Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, and Jewish organizations each came to the microphone to share personal sentiments, memories, and prayers with the crowd.
Maloney and Rouse then opened the microphone to any students wishing to share their personal stories. One student told about the emotional experience of happening upon the name of a family friend on the wall of the Ground Zero Memorial, which lists the names of the victims. The night concluded with a moment of silence.
Also on Sept. 11, Colby chaplains sponsored a service of worship in Lorimer Chapel for participants to share memories and pray for healing and hope.