USF remembers 9/11 without memorial
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 00:09
Nicky Watson, a junior majoring in mass communications, remembers the smoke that filled the air outside the windows of her sixth grade English classroom in Queens, NY. Then the assembly the principal called to let students know that two planes had struck the twin towers in Manhattan, and the world was forever changed.
Fred Pirone, a PhD candidate in anthropology, remembers the sound he can’t push out of his head, nor the dark, heavy feeling that came in the days that followed, as he sat a block away from the Pentagon, then in law school. Pirone thought his friend was being “idiotic and disgusting” when he told him what happened.
Lorie Briggs, director for communications and external relations for the College of Business, remembers sitting in her car on I-275 near Dale Mabry when she heard the “gut-wrenching” news the first tower had been struck. When she reached her Westchase office, she heard the news of the second.
While many memories still remain, for the first time in 11 years, USF will not host an official memorial service to remember Sept. 11.
“This has been a topic of discussion for a couple years now,” Larry Braue, director of Veterans Services, said. “USF has taken the approach that rather than every year doing a big celebration, doing one every five years.”
This year, Student Affairs is holding a “Notes of Appreciation for Emergency Responders” event, which allows people to write thank you notes to be delivered to emergency personnel on Tuesday. This is the only event being held in conjunction with the 9/11 anniversary.
“I don’t want it to lose the power or effect it still has,” Braue said. “It would make sense to remember it somehow. It may be something, that even if it’s something more passive, at least to recognize it’s passing.”
But not marking the anniversary with a memorial seems strange to some.
Justine Dunn, a junior majoring in elementary education and psychology, attended a “Remember our Heroes” concert with
proceeds going to the nonprofit Soldiers Angels on Sept 8. in the MLK Plaza. Dunn said she thought USF should have hosted more organized memorials.
“I think there should always be a memorial,” she said. “We should always remember everyone and everything they did for us and everything that happened that day. Not as many (people) went to the concert as they should have.”
Braue said that forgetting is a possible danger of commemorating the attacks every five years.
“It can tend to fade out of our memory, especially for those who weren’t old enough to understand it,” Braue said.
But for some, the memories of the attacks will not fade.
Saycsar Fleurima, a freshman majoring in mass communication, who was living in San Francisco at the time, said though she didn’t realize the gravity of the attacks at the time, she has not forgotten.
“I was in third grade, I was sick the day it happened. I was at home and watching TV, and I saw the planes crash (into the towers),” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew that something big had happened.”
Watson, who had classmates that lost their parents in the attacks, said the memories of the attacks have stayed with her.
“You realize life is short,” Watson said. “Those people in the towers didn’t realize what was going to happen that day when they woke up. You need to tell your loved ones you love them every day.
— Additional reporting by Divya Kumar