Anniversary of 9/11, Student Groups Unite in Memory
On the ten year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, students and community members from various organizations at Ohio University gathered together in remembrance and support for those who lost their lives that day.
Members of the College Republicans placed 3,000 American flags on College Green to represent the victims of the attacks. They kept vigil over the flags from 6 p.m. Saturday until noon on Sunday. The College Republicans do this each year in memory of those who died.
Sunday evening at 7 p.m. a crowd of about 450 students, faculty and community members gathered at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd for a solidarity march around Athens. It was “a movement for peace,” said Reverend Evan Young, the Campus Minister at United Campus Ministries.
The event is part of the Better Together at Ohio University campaign. This interfaith organization aims to bring together students with all types of beliefs to promote community service and serving others. Other sponsors of the event included UCM: Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice, Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, Hillel at Ohio University and the Muslim Student Association.
Shani Salifu, a member of the Muslim Student Association, said he was happy to be involved with the event. “This turnout was marvelous,” he said. “We were only expecting about 300 people.”
The procession began at the top of Morton Hill and ended at the Muslim Student Association on Stewart Street.
Athens resident Peggy Gish said she was there to support the peace initiative. “I’ve been going back and forth to work in Iraq for the last nine years, and I personally saw what the war on terror has done to the Iraqi people,” she said. “They said ‘[The war] increases our hell.’”
She said the real victims of the War on Terror are the Iraqi citizens themselves and for this reason she supports the peace-promoting actions of Better Together.
When the march ended, Young concluded by leading a song while participants lit vigil candles. “I want people to walk away from this having experienced a vision of what kind of community is possible across faith lines,” he said. “In the ten years since 9/11, the view we’ve had of religious freedom is not a very comforting one; it’s of planes crashing into buildings.”
He also spoke about the importance of community faith building. “If we can do things that unite people of different faiths together, around a common purpose, common values, common goals, then we begin to realize that people who believe differently than us are, first and foremost, people. And that response always, always starts with compassion.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this story the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd was incorrectly spelled Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard.