BY MATTHEW BROWN
Sept. 11 once again brings remembrance of that solemn day 12 years ago when the United States was shaken by a brutal and devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Claiming thousands of lives, the event was considered the worst attack on U.S. soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
This year Franciscan University students had the opportunity to take in a display of “Never Forget” pictures and signs on campus, as well as American flags covering the entire grass lawn in front of the Pope John Paul II Library. The display was courtesy of Students for Freedom and Justice.
“I think this is a very important part of our American heritage. We witnessed history. My friends and I re-watched the incident this morning. It’s important to come out and honor the victims whose lives were changed in an instant,” said sophomore Michael Martin.
Students were able not only to reflect on 9/11 at the display, but also had the opportunity to take part in a 9/11 memorial service hosted by the Franciscan University of Steubenville Eagle Scouts. The service echoed the theme of remembrance through a flag-raising and -lowering service at the flagpole outside of Egan Hall.
At 8:45 a.m. a group of about 35 people met at the flagpole to take part in the ceremony and honor those who have fallen and the families who still suffer from the loss of loved ones in the tragedy. Junior Brian Kirby, founder of the Eagle Scout club, and senior Bryant Schoenle, the club’s president, represented the club by leading the memorial service.
The service opened with a reading of Psalm 46, followed by a recitation of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s general audience address given on Sept. 12, 2001, and a prayer to Our Lady of the Americas. The morning service ceremoniously concluded with the singing of “God Bless America.” An actual flag was not raised due to complications with the flagpole, but the message of 9/11 still held firm among the crowd.
Later that evening at 7:30 p.m., another service took place for the lowering of the flag, which was done symbolically due to the unresolved complications with the flagpole. The evening service, conducted again by Kirby and Schoenle, opened with a reading from Romans 8:31-39, followed by a reading of Billy Collins’ poem “The Names.” Together the crowd prayed Blessed John Paul II’s prayer for 9/11 victims and called upon the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Thomas More.
“I’m from the Washington D.C. area, and my dad was in the Pentagon that morning of 9/11. It’s a very important occasion for everyone, especially for those who were directly affected,” said freshman Sarah Keupper who attended the evening service.
The FUS Eagle Scouts had intentions to hold a 9/11 service last year but were unable to organize one with Student Government, which made the service a priority for them this year, explained Schoenle.
“This is the first campus ceremony we were able to do. It was good to be able to do something and commemorate 9/11,” said Kirby.