September 12, 2002

Wayne State faculty, staff, students remember 9/11

The memories of one of the nation's most tragic events lingered on Gullen Mall as several hundred students, staff and faculty gathered to remember 9/11.

The themes of reflection, patriotism, unity and healing were invoked as Wayne State marked the one-year anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks. The attacks were executed by two hijacked planes that crashed into New York's World Trade Center resulting in 2,801 deaths, a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon resulting in 189 deaths and a fourth hijacked plane attack was foiled, and resulted in the crash of Flight 93 into a rural field in western Pennsylvania that killed all 40 people aboard.

The university joined the nation in marking the anniversary with several activities including the commemorative ceremony and a peace walk.

"Together and separately we gather from the journey of grief," said Rev. John Henry, director of the United Campus Christian Ministry that is part of Wayne State's Grosberg Religious Center, as he opened the commemorative ceremony. "Today a year later we stand with one another simply thankful for being here."

Mario Channey, of Wayne State's student council, sang a heartfelt a cappella rendition of "God Bless America," that captured the air of patriotism in the crowd.

Cassie Williams' reading of the poem "One" by Cheryl Sawyer, symbolized the unity resulting from 9/11. The latter stanzas of the poem brought that theme home as Williams, a junior in secondary English education, intoned: "We are one color, one class, one generation, one gender, one faith, one language, one body, one family, one soul, one people. We are the power of one, we are united, we are America."

Student council member Zeman Marrugi presented Wayne State Public Safety Chief Bill King with the Student Council Excellence Award as a way of honoring the department's efforts in the wake of 9/11. King graciously accepted the award as a number of Wayne State Public Safety officers looked on with their badges shrouded in black as tribute to their fallen comrades in New York.

"Our public safety officers have taken the same oath as the officers and first responders had in New York and at the Pentagon," King said. "We are proud to honor that oath."

Wayne State President Irvin D. Reid marked one of the most poignant moments of the program when he received a new American flag from Student Council President Tiffany Moss on behalf of the university.

In accepting the flag, Reid pointed out that he wasn't surprised that the Wayne State campus community responded positively in respecting and appreciating the diversity on campus since the tragic events of 9/11.He also offered hope that the flag would forever fly in peace. The new flag was ordered at half-staff in honor of the anniversary of 9/11.

"Never let greed or hatred distract us," Reid said. "Faith, hope, happiness- they dwell in our hearts, they rise in our flags."


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