A short but solemn remembrance ceremony was held on the SUNY Plattburgh campus today to remember the events of 9-11 and two alumni who died when the towers fell.
For the past 16 years students and faculty have gathered at the edge of Hawkins Pond at noon on 9-11 for a brief memorial service.
The Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society coordinates the commemoration each year. President William Hodge told the crowd there are timeless lessons that must be remembered in hopes that tragic events like 9-11 never happen again. "At the forefront of these lessons is to teach individuals, groups, communities, states and countries to resolve conflict in nonviolent and peaceful ways. I’d like to note a memorial was installed next to Hawkins Pond. This memorial was placed here to remind us all of all the individuals that died and were affected by the events that took place on September 11, 2001. There are many people connected to the greater SUNY Plattsburgh family that suffered. In particular we have dedicated this memorial to two Plattsburgh State alumni who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Centers. They are Robert Sutcliffe, a 1984 graduate who worked as a broker for Harvey Young and Yermin and William Erwin a 1992 graduate who was a broker for Cantor Fitzgerald.”
Student Association President Vrinda Kumar was a child in Dubai when the towers fell. “9-11 is an ugly reminder of how some can allow hate to take over their soul. I was 7 years old. I could not understand why this was happening and 16 years later I still don’t understand why it happened and why such incidents of hate take over and take place in so many parts of the world today. However to me 9-11 is also a reminder of how people can come together because after the attacks I also saw something else. I saw firefighters, policemen, different members of the society regardless of their role coming together and helping one another. And that’s how I wish that you remember this incident also.”
Despite being very young, 9-11 is an indelible memory for these campus leaders. Hodge remembers walking his school hallways with his parents. “I was 4 years old and I actually was registering for my first day of kindergarten. And you could just see in the classrooms, in the older classrooms, you saw the students crying, you saw the teachers crying. As you got down further and further you‘d only see teachers crying and the students confused. It’s painted vividly in my head.”
Kumar says remembering 9-11 is particularly relevant given the increase in violent incidents around the world. "Look around. Paris, London, some parts of Middle East, some parts of South Asia. It’s happening. You know 9-11’s are happening for those specific countries all around. It definitely should be done more to remind people how it is important to have that conversation about hate and how it is important to have that conversation about inclusion.”
The Plattsburgh State Art Museum is displaying Tempered by Memory by sculptor Noah Savett, which uses steel from the World Trade Center.