University of Delaware
Candles are lit during the Sunday evening memorial vigil on The Green.

Messages of condolence, hope

Sunday evening vigil on UD's Green honors victims of 9/11


1:19 p.m., Sept. 12, 2011--More than 1,000 members of the University of Delaware and neighboring communities came together on a peaceful Sunday evening, Sept. 11, 2011, to remember those who died during the terrorist attacks a decade ago.

For a photographic album of the event, see UD in Photos.

Campus Stories

From graduates, faculty

As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

Attendees, who gathered on The Green in front of Memorial Hall, paused to listen and reflect on messages of condolence and hope in an event sponsored by the University Religious Leaders Organization and a variety of student groups.

The program began with the singing of Meaning by the Golden Blues and No One by the Y Chromes, followed by a presentation of the colors by a joint Air Force and Army ROTC cadet color guard.

The Star Spangled Banner was sung by Malleri Acevedo, a junior health sciences major from South Windsor, Conn. 

In her words of welcome, Kimberly Zitzner, UD religious and spiritual life liaison, Catholic Campus Ministry, said that the terrorist attacks in New York City, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., changed the lives of UD’s newest students, who were in grade school at the time. 

“This may be the first time you are gathering as adults to reflect, honor and pay tribute to all those who died that day,” Zitzner said. “The events of Sept. 11, 2001, forever changed all of us. We look at the world in a different way, we look at our families, our friends and our lives in a different way after witnessing such devastating violence.” 

Zitzner also noted that while terrorist attacks continue today, people have come together to offer love and support and a willingness to “rise up from the ashes and move forward.”

In noting that he was asked to begin the same type of service a decade earlier, as the UD campus community gathered on the very night of the attacks, Rabbi Eliezer Sneiderman of the Chabad Jewish Center urged students to continue to look inward and reevaluate what it means to be human. 

“I challenge you not to stand around as a spectator or to stop after a few flights of stairs, but to run up those stairs and help those around you,” Sneiderman said. “Remember one name from tonight, and let that name inspire you to greatness.” 

Offering a Buddhist reflection, Yolanda Chetwynd-Advani of the Delaware Valley Zen Center read Ending the Day by Thich Nhat Hanh, closing with the lines, “Let us live deeply each moment in freedom, so time does not slip away meaninglessly.” 

The Rev. Deacon Cecily Sawyer Harmon of the Episcopal Campus Ministry said it was important to honor the lives of those who were by moving beyond feelings of fear, grief and the need for revenge. 

“”We must honor their memory -- men, women and children, who were of every race, creed, nationality, ethnicity and class, with resilience, reconciliation, hope and love,” she said.

With her greeting of “salam and peace,” Shazida Sarwar, a member of the Muslim Student Association at UD, said her Islamic faith has taught her “God’s intention in making such a diverse creation was for us to be tolerant and compassionate toward one another. As an American Muslim, I strive to promote unity and peace for all.” 

Grant Wolf, adviser to the Baha’i students on campus, cited the Prayer for Humanity by Abdu’l-Baha.

Kayla Iuliano, a junior environmental science major from Racine, Wis., said that helping others is a way to dispel the idea that there is no good left in the world.

“Don’t ever give up faith that someday we will be safe again, or on the hope that we can change,” Iuliano said. “In times of terror and uncertainty, we know we have our friends, our faith and our freedom. As Americans, we can at least be certain of that.”

Vocal Point sang God Bless America after Iuliano's reflection.

Members of the Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Co. and the UD Emergency Care Unit placed a firefighter's helmet alongside five large candles honoring those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and in subsequent terrorist attacks around the world.

Following, there was a lighting of candles. On the candleholders, students had written the names of all those who died in the attacks. 

The vigil was completed with the retiring of the colors by the joint ROTC cadet color guard.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Evan Krape

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