Campus community recalls 9/11's impact

candlelight vigilEven five years later, the SUNY Oswego campus community holds vivid memories of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“When it happened five years ago, among the heartbreak and horror, we saw our campus community come together and support each other,” President Deborah F. Stanley said. “I will always be so proud of how our students chose to embrace love for one another over hate on what was such a terrible day.”

Oswego would learn later how much the toll hit home, as 12 alumni perished in the attacks.

The evening of that fateful day saw thousands turn out for a candlelight vigil on the campus quad. 

“In our horror of today, while we are filled with shock and sorrow and even anger—it is prudent that we also exercise great care and show great love,” President Stanley told the crowd. “First, commit to love for each other. In your generosity and compassion for those suffering in loss and confusion, share their pain; offer your strength and support, and give comfort and attention.” (Read President Stanley’s full remarks.)

“We are here to honor the dead, remember the wounded and give thanks for those who have responded to support the victims,” then-Student Association President Tim Barnhardt said at the vigil. “We are reminded of the great hope with which we all came to Oswego. Hope for learning, hope for friendship, and hope for growth. Despite this great national tragedy we affirm and commit ourselves to keep that hope alive.” (Read Tim Barnhardt’s full remarks).

The campus community reacted in many positive ways. Looking to do something to help, SUNY Oswego students overwhelmed a Red Cross blood drive that day. The Alumni Office posted a Web site so that graduates in New York and Washington, D.C., could check in and let people know they were safe. The Office of International Education and Programs sponsored a series of teach-ins related to the events.

The four cohorts of students on campus that day—the classes of 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005—pooled their class gifts to sponsor a memorial garden near Glimmerglass Lagoon for the dozen alumni lost. A solemn ceremony dedicated the garden on Sept. 11, 2005.

Members of the campus community can visit the garden today—or any other day—to silently reflect on the events of five years ago.

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(Posted: Sep 11, 2006)

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