Campus Pauses to Remember Events, Sacrifices of 9/11

photo of MIchael Bush speaking

The campus community paused for a few moments Thursday morning, Sept. 11, to remember the tragic events on the same date 13 years ago and to honor the heroic sacrifices made on that fateful day and the days that followed, both at the sites of terrorism and on foreign battlefields.

EKU President Michael Benson, Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes, State Sen. Jared Carpenter, State Rep. Rita Smart and EKU Vets Club President Michael Bush all spoke at the annual memorial ceremony, sharing their own memories of the day and reflections on the lessons learned in its aftermath.

Benson, serving at the University of Utah at the time, remembers staying awake to watch television coverage on consecutive nights, calling it a “defining moment” for his generation.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of loss we felt,” he said. “I hope we recommit to an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for what we have, for those who sacrificed, and never forget what happened.”

Barnes said: “When something of that magnitude happens, it never leaves you. It was a very scary time. What makes America great is we forgive, but we never forget. I pray this never happens to America again.”

When the towers fell, Carpenter remembers the impact at the local bank where he worked. “We started getting phone calls from people sacred of losing their money. Many were taking cash out of the bank.”

But he also remembers the events and aftermath “putting a new thought in my mind about service and selflessness. It created in me the desire to serve.”

Smart, whose remarks were interrupted by memorial chimes, remembers taking a rental car from the Tampa airport back to Kentucky on Sept. 11, 2001, and watching snippets of TV coverage at stops along the way.

“We must continue to tell the rest of the story,” Smart said. “Let us not forget, let us continue so the next generation will band together, pick up and carry on, because that’s who we are.”

Bush, who was in high school at the time, remembers watching people jump from the fiery towers.

“The wolf is always at the door,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that the events of 9/11 never occur on our soil again.”

The morning ceremony was only the first event in a day packed with 9/11-related events on the Richmond campus. EKU students were to join community first responders for two stair climbs at Keene Residence Hall in remembrance of those firefighters and police officers who rushed into the World Trade Center in an attempt to rescue others. Also, an evening memorial ceremony, between the two stair climbs, was scheduled for the EKU Center for the Arts.

Members of the campus community also contributed to a blood drive and participated in a Train the Trainers-Walt Disney Pillow Case Project, aimed at preparing young people to serve as advocates for emergency preparedness in their homes and communities.

Published on September 11, 2014

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