Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 26, 2020

Student groups and University staff united to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a series of events honoring victims and giving students a mode to express their emotions.

The events spanned the length of the day and offered students a variety of outlets for dealing with the tragedy, ranging from a labyrinth in the Glass Pavilion to a name-reading ceremony in front of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library.

"We really tried to create something for people with different opportunities," said Chaplain Sharon Kugler.

Kugler, Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell and Jonathan Snow coordinated the plans for the Sept. 11 commemoration with help from student and staff volunteers. Sponsors included the MSE Symposium, Alpha Phi Omega (APO), deans' offices, Interfaith Center and Campus Ministries.

But Snow said Sept. 11, 2001 and its implications should be the emphasis, not coordinators or volunteers.

"The key about today is to gather as a community and reflect on what we've learned about ourselves and the terrorist threat," said Snow.

He urged students and citizens not to fall back to pre-Sept. 11 apathy to the political implications of terrorism.

Homewood's commemoration of the attacks began at 8:45 in the morning, the approximate time that the first plane collided with the World Trade Center. About 40 students gathered in the Glass Pavilion for the University-wide moment of silence as the Gilman Hall bell tolled continuously in honor of the victims.

Sophomore Diana Iskelov was walking on campus with a friend when the bell tolled the fatal time.

"We all just stopped," said Iskelov. "For a minute, you could feel a connection with everyone else. It was very poignant and very raw. In a lot of ways, it felt like we were experiencing it [Sept. 11, 2001] all over again."

Iskelov was also struck by "the diversity of people on campus experiencing the same thing."

Beginning at 9 a.m., the Glass Pavilion housed a labyrinth for students to meditate and reflect over the tragedy. Kugler said that by 9:30 a.m., about 30 students had already visited the illuminated winding path.

"The intention of the labyrinth is one more way for people to express their emotions," said Kugler. "It enables people to come and physically do something."

At 12 noon, more than 20 volunteers of student organizations read the names of Sept. 11 victims from a podium in front of the library. Students, staff members and administrators gathered around the location in-between classes and listened to the two hour-long list.

"I read over one page," said junior Sarah Huntting, a volunteer from APO. "When you're faced with something so enormous, it makes you remember who you are."

Faces were melancholy and subdued during the reading as students listened to the names of the victims.

"I didn't know anyone in the World Trade Center, so it's great for someone like me who wasn't affected in a personal level to take time to think," said sophomore Emily Gray.

Junior Ellen Im described the day as "more solemn than usual."

"I think it's very appropriate for us to do some like this because the event did have an impact on us individually," said Im.

The day concluded at 7:30 p.m. with a vigil honoring those lost.

The MSE Symposium originally posed the idea of bringing a speaker to campus on Sept. 11 but decided with Boswell that there should be no events to compete with the vigil.

"My concern was I don't want to have the vigil be rushed," Boswell said.

A five-minute slide show commemorating the attacks was shown after the vigil to engender hope for the future, said the film's creator Abdulahad Rehmatulla, senior and member of the Campus Ministries.

"I felt some of the backlash against Muslim-Americans but not much," he said. "More as a person of faith than as a Muslim, I wanted to give back."

Meera Popat, 2002 MSE co-chair, felt that the events planned provided "an atmosphere of remembrance, but also a look forward," since classes were continued. Popat also felt that the student body "responded very well," taking the time to attend events and read the material handed out.

"It shows that there are people who want to get involved... to pay their respects," said Popat.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The News-Letter.

News-Letter Special Editions