By Meloney Lane ’13
GCU Student Voices
September 11, 2001, was a day that changed America forever. It started out as a beautiful Tuesday morning, with thousands of people going about their normal work day. But the beautiful cloudless morning would turn out to be anything but beautiful. At 8:46 a.m. Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Many people thought it was an unfortunate accident. At 9:03 a.m. the nation watched as another plane, Flight 175, crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. As many Americans watched the events taking place in New York City in horror, another plane Flight 93 was being hijacked. At 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon.
Twenty minutes later the passengers on Flight 93 started to fight back against the hijackers. At 9:59 a.m. the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed and just four minutes later, Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn., the plane never making it to its intended target because of the brave passengers that fought back against the terrorists. At 10:10 a.m. the west side of the Pentagon collapsed and 10:28 a.m. the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
Every year on the anniversary of September 11, many Americans stop and remember the 3,000 people that lost their lives on that tragic day. Now, 10 years later, as the world stopped to remember September 11, the students, staff, and faculty of Georgian Court University took a moment to reflect on the events and remember the victims that were affected on that tragic day.
A group of about 40 people came together at a candlelight vigil at the Peace Pole on September 12, 2011. The ceremony began with everyone in attendance receiving a thin white candle. Only one candle was lit with a lighter, then the others were lit by everyone sharing the flame.
The people that were in attendance stood in a horseshoe shape around the Peace Pole, while the three speakers of the group stood in the center.
The ceremony started at 7:30 p.m. and the first speaker of the group was Samantha Arias.
“We are here tonight to honor and remember those who lost their lives on 9/11,” she said.
Jennifer, the Secretary of the Student Government Association and the President of the Poetry Club, gave an inspiring speech which detailed the events, victims, and families that were affected by that day. After all the speakers were finished, the group was then asked to bow their heads to pray and have a moment of silence for those who were lost. While everyone was praying and remembering the events of September 11, one of the speakers told the group to blow out their candles when they are done remembering. Some people in the group blew out their candles a few moments after they were told to blow them out, others waited for a few minutes before blowing out their candles. The speakers then gathered up all of the candles and the group went their separate ways.
The events of September 11, 2001, will never be forgotten. Although 10 years have passed, September 11 makes many Americans stop and remember. Some remember the events, the innocent victims who lost their lives just going about their normal day, or some stop to reflect on where they were. Perhaps it is a combination of everything.
Like the thousands of Americans who remembered where they were on September 11, so did the speakers of the candlelight vigil.,
“I was in Georgia, Ms. Jones, 5th grade…I didn’t know that the country was attacked and didn’t realize how important the Twin Towers were to America,” said Jennifer.
Shinade Ramirez, Vice President of GCU’s Student Government Association, also recalled where she was on that day.
“I was in school, 5th grade music class,” Ramirez said. She also went on to say that her music teacher’s wife was in Tower Two and he was panicked. “My father was delivering and was about to walk into Tower Two….we didn’t hear from him for about two to three days later,” she added.
Samantha Arias also spoke about where she was on September 11.
“I was at recess…6th grade…We were outside, and then the teachers called us back inside, the teachers were all panicked,” she said. “We went home early….then I saw what happened on TV…I thought it was a movie, I couldn’t believe it.”
After 10 years of remembering and honoring the people affected by 9/11, it seems to have had an effect on every American.
“(September 11) made me proud to be an American…and I take pride in living in America….and to appreciate life,” Ramirez said.“I was young and naive to the world….Hate and war didn’t exsist….it opened my eyes and made me more fearful,” Arias said.
September 11, 2001 for many Americans, was their real first act terrorism that many watched unfold on live television. Although it has been 10 years since the events, as a nation we will never forget. September 11th left a hole in the heart of the American people, however ceremonies like the Candlelight Vigil help us to heal and remember.