Nine GW alumni were killed during terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The university community paused Monday to mourn and celebrate their lives.
By Kristen Mitchell
The George Washington University community paused Monday morning to remember those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a day marked by tragedy that reshaped American history.
At an annual wreath laying at Anniversary Park near 21st and F streets NW, GW students, faculty and staff remembered and celebrated the lives of nine alumni who were victims of attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“Today, 16 years after the attacks, many students on campus may not have a personal memory of 9/11, but all of us understand the significance of this day. We know about the acts of hate and violence, the attack on our country’s core values,” said George Washington President Thomas LeBlanc. “We also know so many acts of heroism and sacrifice shone brighter that day, including from alumni of this university. We honor their memories by redoubling our resolve to effect positive change in this world and live in service to others.”
The wreath laying ceremony included a presentation of colors by the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, a rendition of the national anthem and a moment of silence, held at approximately 8:46 a.m., when 16 years ago American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Student Association President Peak Sen Chua read aloud the names of the nine GW alumni who died and then Dr. LeBlanc and Mr. Chua laid a red, white and blue wreath at the foot of the Anniversary Park memorial.
Andrew Smith, a sophomore majoring in political communication, attended the wreath laying ceremony. As we get further away from the events of Sept. 11, 2001, it is as important as ever to stop and remember what happened, he said.
“I barely remember the day, I was in preschool, and pretty soon, by the time I graduate, all incoming freshmen from that point forward will either have no memory at all or have not been alive during 9/11,” he said. “It’s important to remember that a lot of people didn’t get to go home that day.... We should take time out of the day and remember the lives that were lost.”
Diego Rebollar, a sophomore majoring in political science, said it’s important to pay tribute to the almost 3,000 Americans who lost their lives.
“It was such a momentous occasion that led to not only the people who lost their lives, but the people who went and served overseas, who still to this day are serving trying to bring those responsible to justice,” Mr. Rebollar said. “It’s one of the darkest days in American history and the least we can do to honor the Americans who died is to come out and remember their loss.”