Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

On the twelfth anniversary of the devastating World Trade Center attack, West Chester students assembled on the Sykes Student Union staircase to pay respect to the fallen victims.
There were numerous firefighters, police officers, and EMTs in attendence, including volunteer firefighter, DJ Matthews who showed up to “see the West Chester students honor the victims and heroes of 9/11.”
The event began at 9 p.m. with a detailed timeline of the Sept. 11, 2001 plane hijackings. Dr. Sarah Hinkle, assistant Vice President of Student affairs, proceeded by offering her own advice: “Don’t let it take a tragic event to remember what’s important.”
Mayor Comitta spoke subsequently and took the chance to thank “the first responders in our community that put themselves in harm’s way everyday.” This includes West Chester’s volunteer firefighters, policemen, and the West Chester EMS.
The speakers were followed with a symbolic gesture using candles that the crowd received at the beginning of the ceremony. Each candle was lit one by one as Theresa Pierantozzi, President of the Student Government Association, recited a poem entitled “We Will Remember” by Cindy Sargent. A solemn atmosphere filled the staircase, as the candlelight grew brighter with each candle lit. Finally, all the candles were glowing in the night and a moment of silence was requested to remember the victims who lost their lives in the unthinkable tragedy of Sept. 11.
When the silence ended, guests were welcomed up to the microphone to share their personal stories and experiences of the heartbreaking day. Speakers talked about loved ones lost and others talked about their pride in the military that fought for America’s freedom after 9/11.
“God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood played overhead, filling the West Chester students with pride and cheerfulness. The song played while partakers sang along loudly, holding their candles high in the air. It was an impressive symbol of America’s rising up after our nations fall to terrorism.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to take a few hours of our day to honor the people who lost their lives in the attack. The most emotional part for me was when they played God Bless the USA,” WCU senior Emily Siegel said.
The event ended with closing remarks summarizing our nation’s pride and dedication to overcoming 9/11. We are one nation and we will never forget. It is humbling to see the amount of people who showed up to the event even though most attendees were only in elementary school when the crashes occurred. The heinous acts of Sept. 11, 2001 will always be remembered – not only as the day that terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, but also as the day our nation came together and grew stronger than ever before.
“No one plans a tragedy, and no one can predict the future,” said Pierantozzi. “But we know that whatever the future holds, as a nation, we will be there for each other.”
Jessica Macay is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM747402@wcupa.edu.  

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