University Park, IL,
16:09 PM

9/11 Day of Remembrance

Despite the unimaginable destruction and loss of life the nation suffered in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the community of Governors State University marked the 18th anniversary by honoring the military and first responders who stepped forward to help and reminding all who attended of the way Americans pulled together in the aftermath.

“I remember the unity,” President Elaine P. Maimon said at the fifth annual Day of Remembrance ceremony. Noting that freshmen who enrolled this fall may not have been born yet when the attack took place, she said, “It’s important for us who were there to tell the story, to reflect and to remember. I ask that we sing the national anthem every year at convocation, at commemoration, and at events like these because raising our voices together like this is a real act of unity.

“And that unity is being threatened right now in the United States, so it’s important to us at educational institutions that our population in the U.S. is educated.”

The event, sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center and the Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs, gave GSU students, faculty and staff a chance to gather, reflect and honor the efforts of those who served and the memory of those who lost their lives.

Provost Beth Cada recalled how the “nation came together 18 years ago to make the world a better place for all.” Kevin Smith, Director of Veterans Affairs, shared GSU’s gratitude for the students, alumni and staff who have served their country by joining the U.S. military or by becoming first responders.

David Golland, president of the Faculty Senate, recalled growing up near the World Trade Center. “Sometimes, our bus driver would say, ‘Let’s go see the twins,‘ “ and drive the children near the iconic twin towers. He was not surprised by the brave actions of the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Like the people assembled here today, they were a true representation of this country, with all its diversity,” Golland said. “The terrorists were engaged in an act of war. The first responders were engaged in an act of peace. Our greatest heroes died for peace.”

At a Wall of Remembrance in the Hall of Governors, several GSU community members shared their personal thoughts and prayers. “So grateful for our U.S. military and the first responders,” one person wrote.

Another wrote, “Remember 9/11 so we’ll never forget to stand together.”