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On the Occasion of the Remembrance
of the Events of September 11, 2001

Letter to Campus
On the Occasion of the Remembrance
of the Events of September 11, 2001
By Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Thursday, September 11, 2003

To the Rensselaer Troy Campus Community:

When momentous events which history will record occur during our lifetimes, it is important for us to remember, to seek healing, to find meaning, and to make life more consequential through the lessons they have to teach us.

The events of September 11th, 2001, are such as these. We owe it to ourselves to remember this event for our own grieving and healing, and we owe it to those who will come after us, so the lessons of history and their significance are not lost.

There will be three events on the Troy campus on Thursday, September 11, 2003, the second anniversary of the events which saw the loss of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash of Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania.

  1. At 8:46 a.m., the exact time the first airplane struck the World Trade Center, the Rensselaer ROTC will lower the flag at the corner of Sage and 15th Street, in a ceremony marking the event. "Taps" will be played. Vice President for Student Life Eddie Ade Knowles and I will make brief remarks, and Professor Henry A. Scarton will sing "America the Beautiful."
  2. At noon, there will be a moment of silence marked by the chiming of church bells for three to five minutes across the campus. I ask that all of us stop what we are doing and remain silent during this time.
  3. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., there will be a "dinner reception" for the Rensselaer community in a tent on the Hassan Quad, followed at 5:30 p.m. by a panel discussion in Russell Sage 3303 entitled, "Historic Memorials, Commemoration, and Remembrance." The event features:
    • Dean of Architecture Alan Balfour "On Memorials in Berlin";
    • Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences John P. Harrington on "Irish Famine Memorials";
    • S. Michael Halloran, Professor Emeritus of Language, Literature, and Communication, "On the Saratoga Battlefield and Victory Monument";
    • Carole Blair, Professor of American Studies at University of California, Davis, and Director of its Washington, D.C. Center: "Plans for the World Trade Center Site."

These three events are each meaningful in their own right, and spaced to encourage the entire Rensselaer community to participate, especially our athletes, some of whom may be at practice when the evening event begins.

While the meaning and consequence of the events of September 11, 2001 are still unfolding, we want to mark this solemn occasion, to hold those most affected in our hearts, to find healing for ourselves, and to find the hope and forgiveness that will carry us into the future.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.