A nation paused to remember those fallen

It was just 13 years ago that a series of four attacks, coordinated by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States in New York and Washington D.C., were put into effect on Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks killed more than 3,000 people, more than 400 of those being firefighters and police officers, and caused more than $10 billion in property damage. Four passenger planes were hijacked by 19 of the al-Qaeda terrorists, two of the planes hit the North and towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one of them crashed into the Pentagon, and the last was headed for Washington D.C. but crashed early in a field in Pennsylvania.

(Photos by Alexa Gagosz)

Al-Qaeda’s group leader, Osama bin Laden originally denied ever planning the attack. Three years later, in 2004, he admitted to being responsible. As the story goes, bin Laden was a main target on the War on Terror until May 2011, where he was shot and killed by U.S. Navy Seals in his residential compound in Pakistan.

Today, the nation continues to mourn those fallen, whether they be from the attacked buildings, hijacked planes, or the firefighters and law enforcement officers that died while trying to help civilians. Outside of the Massachusetts State House on Thursday morning, was a memorial service in which Mayor Marty Walsh laid a wreath for those fallen.  Their names were subsequently read out at the same time the planes crashed on that horrific morning in Manhattan, N.Y. The commemoration was followed by a moment of silence.

Here at Suffolk, Rev. Amy Fisher, the university chaplain,  hosted a day of remembrance in the Donahue building.

Rev. Fisher said, “The interfaith center is open all day for reflection, prayer, or support, as people want to come in and have a moment of silence.”

To add to the memorial services that have been occurring throughout the years, the question of “where were you” is always the conversation when talking about such events.

Rev. Fisher shared her story and said, “I was sitting right here. I was working on the ‘Book of Esther’ and suddenly someone calls me and says ‘you’re about to get very busy.’”

Though most current Suffolk students were relatively young in 2001, many remember watching the news, replaying what had happened with the nation in a state of confusion and panic.

Freshman Kyana Ferro said that she remembered that day clearly.

“We were in kindergarten, I was at school, and they called my parents to come get us. I distinctly remember when my friend’s mom drove us home and it was on the radio that the second plane hit. But, we were so young and just didn’t understand.”

Junior Scott Song, who lived in New Jersey during the time, said, “I remember I was in second grade. It was the second week of school and my mom was picking me up. I got in the car, she told me that the World Trade Center had been hit, but I didn’t know what that was at first. We got home and turned on the television and breaking news had come up everywhere. They continued to replay it over and over again. My family was shocked because we lived only 25 minutes away from New York City. Each plane that would go over my house would rattle my house and no one knew if it was the terrorists or the military. When we looked across the horizon, we could actually see the black smoke.”

Rev. Fisher added to the memory and said, “I think everybody has personal stories about that day. It’s been 13 years and we have students who were impacted by it in any sort of way because they have friends and relatives, they have memories of being in school and the teachers all crying. So I think there is this consciousness around the world, and especially here in New England since the airplanes took off here in Logan.”