On Sept.11, 2019 Eastern Michigan University hosted its eighth 9/11 Ceremony of Remembrance at Pease Park.
The event is held at the 9/11 memorial on EMU’s campus, located behind Pease Auditorium on the southeast end of main campus. The memorial features a 14-foot, 7,000 pound steel beam from the 74th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. The memorial opened on Sept. 11, 2011.
Walter Kraft, vice president for communications, opened the ceremony, followed by the EMU Army ROTC’s color guard. After the national anthem was sung by Detective Chuck Mosher of the EMU Police, there was a moment of silence for the crowd to show respect and honor the victims of the 2001 attacks. After a memoir from Pastor Sarah Jackson and a prayer with Pastor Bryan Schindel, each member of the crowd was able to place a red or white carnation on the beam.
EMU President James Smith attended the event to honor the lives that were lost, as well as the lives of the survivors. It was his fourth time attending the ceremony.
Many Americans can remember exactly where they were at the time of the attacks. When asked, President Smith immediately recalled where he was. He was driving to Bowling Green State University where he worked at the time. It was over the radio that he heard the news.
He described the crowd as very solemn during the ceremony. According to President Smith, he sees the ceremony as being the most difficult for the first responders as so many were lost in the attacks. Even of the first responders who survived, he pointed out that some of those still living are now suffering from health effects caused by the attacks. These health issues include asbestosis, which is a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos.
The event brought in a very diverse crowd, with people of all ages and backgrounds. Despite the majority of college students today being so young when the attacks happened, that did not stop them from coming to pay their respects.
EMU Student Body President Ethan Smith, a senior, had only just turned three years old when the events of 9/11 happened. Although his parents did not tell him about that day in great detail when he was young, he came to learn more about it as he grew.
Because of how the attacks reshaped American culture, Ethan said he believes it is still important to attend the memorial despite being too young to recall the actual events.
“The attacks of 9/11 made a lot of Americans feel scared, and these ceremonies make us feel secure in what it is to be an American,” he said.
Overall, the ceremony was a beautiful tribute to honor the day that changed America forever. With the memorial EMU has put together, we can guarantee that the EMU and Ypsilanti community will never forget Sept. 11, 2001.