UNH Remembers 9/11

Ana Abraham

Every year since the nation was changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001, UNH has held a remembrance ceremony to honor not only the lives lost on that day, but also those left behind.

This year’s ceremony was held at on the morning of the anniversary in front of the Marvin K. Peterson Library. Students, faculty and staff (some dressed in the uniforms of the Armed Services), various fire or emergency medical services (some in business clothes and some just coming from class), were presented with an American flag upon arrival.

Undergraduate Student Government Association President Patrick Kelland opened with remarks about how the tragedies of 11 years ago have since affected some of his experiences at UNH, and how he suspected many of his fellow students have been motivated by them as well.

UNH ROTC Cadets John Harness, Paul Emmi, Victoria Rossi and Michael Heddy led a Presentation of the Colors, and then USGA Vice President Chris Drobinske led the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Every year since then, we’ve come together as a community to mark this day,” said Campus Minister Martin O’Connor. In 2001, students, staff and faculty made their way to the Bixler/Botwinik Quad at dusk to hold a candlelight vigil. “This campus…was in shock.”

The events of each year’s ceremony are at the discretion of the USGA president to plan.

The Sergeant at Arms of UNH’s Psi Omega chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association, Connor Johnson, stood to give comments on law enforcement. He spoke of those who “responded to the call” on that fateful day, and the families of the law enforcement personnel, as well as all families who lost so much and are still suffering.

Fire Science Club President Adam Torrant gave his comments on fire service. He said that 343 members of the New York Fire Department died that day, but in the aftermath, “the nation as a whole grew strong in the face of tragedy.”

EMS Club President Scott McGuire spoke of the first responders who served in the damage caused by the attacks, and asked that they not be forgotten. He challenged those in attendance to go and look up one person who made the ultimate sacrifice and to learn from them.

Last to speak was Student Coordinator of Veteran Services Brian Smith. Although the theme of all the speeches was to always remember the victims of 9/11, especially those in uniform and their families, Brian Smith’s was a little more personal.

“Never forget me,” he asked of the audience. “Never forget my peers…the veterans here at UNH.” He spoke of all the Americans who went to recruitment centers after the attacks and also of those who continue to serve the cause of freedom.

After a closing prayer by Martin O’Connor, the presenters placed bouquets of flowers under the half-mast American flag behind the podium. The audience then moved to the 9/11 Memorial Tree between Botwinik Hall and the Bartels Student Activities Center.

Everyone placed the American flags they had been presented with earlier in the ground around the tree, surrounding a plaque emblazoned with the words “Lest We Forget.”