Sunday, December 5, 2010

Candle light vigil held to remember 9/11 attacks

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: September 14, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
On Friday, Sept. 10, roughly 30 Point Park students and faculty members gathered together in Alumni Park to remember, reflect and pay their respects for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
 Amanda McGuire, Student Activities Program Coordinator, initiated the event with a moment of silence for those who lost and gave their lives on Sept. 11. McGuire set the event up as a way for students to have the opportunity to pay honor to those who lost their lives, she said. 
"We have students from all over the place and we wanted to make sure that they had the opportunity to realize that we don't forget, nobody has forgotten, and it is still important to us to sit down and reflect on that day," she explained.

 McGuire said that she and the Office of Student Activities wanted more than just long speeches during the candlelight vigil. They wanted people with different backgrounds and experiences about Sept. 11 discussing what they remember.
 "I wanted discussion for this event. I wanted a personal connection with people that you might not have known prior to the event," she said.
 She believed that there were some "very" good conversations going on amongst the attendees at the event.
 "We wanted people to have a conversation about it, and we wanted them to continue those conversations," she explained.
 Following the candlelight vigil students and some faculty gathered in conversation of remembrance, as they all wrote their memories and thoughts of Sept. 11 on a poster.
 Senior, criminal justice major, Shaleen Young, wrote: "No matter our age, or place, this is a day we will never forget."
 Young said that she was in her seventh grade English class during the time the towers were hit.
 "I remember we were in the computer lab and we just got back to the classroom, and she always had the news on and as soon as we sat down we saw it and we were like what's going on' " she reflected.
 Some students remembered the day of the attacks, but realized that they did not fully understand what was happening.
 "I was in the third grade, so I didn't really understand it. I didn't grasp it," said Jennifer Henkel, freshman, dance major.
 Although she was young when the attacks occurred, Henkel said she came to the vigil to remember and reflect on how she felt about them.
 McGuire explained that with different points of view, especially different ages, comes different reactions to the attacks. She said this helps students learn about themselves.
 "We want people to know that you can learn not just in the classroom, but from everyone around you. And particularly today, there's so much you can learn about yourself just from hearing other people talk about their life experiences of the same event; we all went through that event together, when it was happening, and the days that followed," McGuire said.
 Jonathan Morgan, junior, sports arts and entertainment major, felt that the vigil was done very respectfully through remembering those that lost their lives.
 "I think the best way to do it is to self-reflect and to look not only how it's changed the world, but how this changed yourself, and I think that's the best way to remember," Morgan said.
 Although Morgan was not personally impacted by the attacks, he still said the day was "important because it was such a tragedy."
 "I don't think it's too much to give an hour out of my time to come down here to remember those sacrificed for my life-the freedom that I live every day," Morgan said.
 According to the 9/11 Commission Report, 2,600 individuals lost their lives at the World Trade Center, 125 died at the Pentagon and 256 died on the four planes that crashed. Altogether that is 2,981 people that died in the attacks.
At the end of the day, that event, as tragic as it was, united us," McGuire said. "That event is something that unites us as Americans, as well as Point Park students," she added.
 McGuire and Student Activities wanted to bring that "united" feeling back to Point Park's campus and hopes to do the same next year for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Since next year's incoming freshmen will have been eight years old when the attacks occurred, she knows that will significantly change their reactions, but she said it will be interesting to hear what they remember about the day.
 "We would love to have more people next year. We are definitely going to evaluate what we are going to do next year, because we want it to be nice," McGuire concluded. 

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