The Park University Global Warrior Center held a ceremony honoring the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the Colonel Lewis L. Millett Medal of Honor Memorial, at Thompson Commons, on Sept. 11.
The remembrance ceremony began at 9:11 a.m. with the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., gave remarks before the reading of the names.
“We consider those on 9/11 who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Gunderson said. “They were a slice of America, they defined who we are as a people, and their loss is our loss. But in this loss, this nation learned some valuable lessons. We were reminded that Americans put nation before self. Their actions that day defined what it is to be an American in a way that we remember today because it is the best of us.”
Gunderson reminded those in attendance of the uniqueness of this certain celebration. It has been 18 years since this tragedy. This means some Park University students weren’t even born yet.
“In our freshman class, we have students who are 17 years old,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve stood before you at this commemoration and can tell you there are students here, who this experience is not something they lived through, that wasn’t a defining moment in their lives.”
Sarah Weygand, the director of veteran and military services at Park, discussed how important it was to remember the 9/11 tragedy and its victims.
“The reading of the names is important because it keeps the memory of those that perished alive,” Weygand said. “There is a saying: ‘A person dies twice. Once with their final breath, and again when their name is spoken for the final time.’ We speak the names of those nearly 3,000 lost to ensure they are remembered and honored.”
At least 25 Park University students, staff and faculty volunteered to read the names on the morning of 9/11. By saying their names aloud on 9/11, those who perished not only stay alive in our memories, but the diversity and nationalities of American citizens is also highlighted.
“To help remember those lost, it helps remind you of what makes America,” said Amy Sanborn, a senior accounting major. “When I was reading the names it reinforced the differences that we have and how we all come together, all those names, come from so many different backgrounds, so many different walks of life, and yet – they’re all America, they make America.”
When the ceremony concluded with the final name, “Taps” was played.