Remembering 9/11

SU and community members reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy with a Service of Remembrance and Hope.

Students, faculty and members of the Syracuse community shared memories and words of encouragement at Syracuse University’s Service of Remembrance and Hope at Hendricks Chapel Sunday.

On the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, SU brought generations together in an interfaith observance of prayer and song. Flags flew outside at half-mast, while inside the chapel the young and old, strangers and family sat alongside one another in unity.

Photo: David Trotman-Wilkins
Students, staff and faculty joined the public as they signed the Syracuse University's new Sheets of Remembrance, erected outside Hendricks Chapel after the 9/11 Remembrance ceremony on Sunday.

For attendees like junior Caitlin Weinsheimer from Long Island, it was an overwhelming day of reflection. For nearly a month after the attacks, her father, a retired New York City fireman, worked at Ground Zero helping to clear debris and find victims beneath the rubble.

“I didn’t think I was going to be this emotional,” Weinsheimer said. “My dad is now really sick because of it - he’s on six different inhalers. It’s not the same.”

Heads bowed and hands were held as the service began with the university’s brass ensemble, followed by welcoming statements by Tiffany Steinwert, Dean of Hendricks Chapel. Steinwert focused on the message of hope in the midst of uncertainty.

The Hendricks Chapel Choir and Black Celestial Choral Ensemble performed, as well as the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, with a rendition of “Amazing Grace” that brought audience members to tears.  

Prayers were given by the chapel’s Chaplains' Council, with representatives of many faiths including Buddhism, Catholicism and Islam.

Thomas V. Wolfe, Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, encouraged audience members to look beyond themselves and expand their view  of the world.  Wolfe gave a speech of remembrance, recapping the events at SU 10 years ago.  In 2001, the university opened Hendricks Chapel to students as “a place to pack their raw feelings.”

Weinsheimer was sitting in her fifth grade classroom when the towers fell. She still carries the fear she experienced at the thought of her father being at the site with her today.

“I’m just so happy he wasn’t on call," she said. "He would’ve been one of the first people that was called in. But we didn’t see him for a really long time. The awful stories my dad would come back with - I really didn’t realize the effect.”

Remembrance Scholar and senior at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Laura Beachy shared her personal 9/11 connection and provided student reflection. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near her hometown’s backyard in Somerset, Penn.

Remembering “the most powerful moment” of her life, Beachy discussed the altering effects of 9/11 on her generation. At the end of her speech, the chapel was filled with embraces as she urged attendees to hug the person next to them in a gesture of unity.

Other Remembrance Scholars were present as volunteers for the service. The scholars represent the 35 SU students who were killed in the bombing on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Participating scholars like public relations senior Calvin Iverson saw this as an opportunity to support the community.

“We wanted to use something that directly affected the Syracuse community and use it as a platform to speak about terrorism now, to talk about 9/11 and use the Pan Am attack as something that links us and brings us together,” he said.

The service closed with audience members singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in unison with the Syracuse Children’s Chorus.

The crowd filtered to the Kenneth A. Shaw Quadrangle where the 9/11 Sheets of Expression were displayed. Students, faculty and staff were invited to write thoughts and feelings on large white sheets of paper.

The event was in sync with the nation’s message, said Peg Northrup of SU’s Office of Special Events.

“We wanted to focus on coming together no matter who you are and what you believe in, to promote the message that it really starts with all of us and take that out into the community," she said.

The symbol of the remembrance event, “A Tree of 40 Fruit,” will be planted on the quad later this year, bearing different types of fruit to reflect multiculturalism and acceptance.

“Every time we look at the skyline it’s just not the same,” Weinsheimer said. “I hope that this makes our community stronger and we can share almost a first-hand experience of that day.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.