Bucknell’s 9/11 Memorial Service

Juliana Rodrigues, Contributing Writer

The days ahead bring sorrow and loss to the minds of Americans as we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. The devastating hijacking and crashing of four planes took the lives of 2,977, and permanently altered the lives of all Americans, including some of our campus community. In past years, the University has always been able to honor 9/11 in some way; for 2021, a service will be held in Rooke Chapel on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m. 

 This year’s memorial service was organized by Kendall Garnett ’22, and Nicole Everett ’22 of the Panhellenic Council, along with Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Kurt Nelson. Grateful for the opportunity to work with the Panhellenic Council to plan the service, Nelson expressed that he believes “As working memory fades and historical memory rises, it’s important to find time to remember together the events of that day, and all that has followed — and especially the lives of those lost who are connected to our community here — alumni, parents, family and friends.” Everett commented on why the Panhellenic Council felt this event would be so important to the campus community. “There are a lot of people who have a connection to 9/11, and for a lot of these people it is hard to be away from home during this time. So, we were trying to come up with a way to help bring our community together, and remember what [happened], especially because it’s the 20th anniversary. We planned this remembrance ceremony for our community to come together at Rooke Chapel. It’s a time we can all just be together; listen to some words of remembrance from different speakers, President Bravman is going to say some words. Overall, I think it will be a really special opportunity for all of us to be together and support everyone who was impacted,” Everett said. 

The service this Saturday will be led by Nelson, with Kelsi Chupriski of the Catholic Campus Ministry offering a prayer. “It’s important to provide a prayerful and silent moment on this Saturday to remember all those lives lost… We need to make space in our busy and noisy lives not only for remembering, but thanking God for our lives, for our gifts, and for the blessing of our country. As a community, it is a moment of solidarity with all faiths, creeds, religions, groups and races: all are one when we come together in prayer,” Chupriski said. This service gives students the opportunity to honor 9/11 victims, regardless of if they were directly impacted by the event. It is an important day for the community to come together as a whole to reflect, remember, and honor the victims and all of those affected. “The Bucknell community actually gathered in the Chapel Grove on 9/11/01 and again on 9/11/11 — there are markers there, signifying each occasion,” Nelson said. After gathering in the Chapel on the day of that horrific incident, and ten years later, it now can be seen as a campus tradition twenty years later.

Many students on campus have also expressed their gratitude for the University providing a service, as they are able to see the importance of remembrance for this tragedy. Molly Tuthill ’24, a residential advisor (RA) for a first year hall, took time to give her thoughts on the memorial service. “Growing up in New York, in a town of several who commute to work in the city — 9/11 has affected many people I know and love, including good friends of my older siblings and parents. I think it is important every year to honor those who tragically lost their lives, and I am thankful to Bucknell for providing a service for students to attend,” Tuthill said. She plans to attend this Saturday with her fellow members of the campus community, and encourages her first year hall to take some time out of their morning to join her. “Although I was born after 9/11, I think it’s still important to keep in our thoughts those who lost their lives, and their families and friends who deal with that loss each year. I admire that Bucknell gives us an opportunity to come together on this day,” Victoria Hall ’24, another RA, said. Numerous other students when asked concurred on the importance of a service for 9/11. Second year students Peter Rhatican ’24 of Pennsylvania and Henry Nagel ’24 of Illinois aim to find time on Saturday to attend and take time to reflect on the lives lost and families affected.  

This coming weekend we specifically honor the University Alumni who lost their lives twenty years ago. Mark McGinly ’97, Keith Coleman ’90, Bonnie Smithwick ’68, and Bradley Fetchet ’99 were all working in their offices within the World Trade Center when the planes crashed. We all keep these alumni, and their families in our thoughts. All students are welcomed and encouraged to attend the Memorial this weekend and be sure to keep in their thoughts everyone affected by 9/11.

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