SUNY Plattsburgh Marks 9/11 With Memorial Ceremony
The annual SUNY Plattsburgh 9/11 memorial ceremony will take place at noon Sept. 11 in the Amitie Plaza, Angell College Center.
Hosted by the Plattsburgh Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, the ceremony will be emceed by ODK President Jory Dean.
"I believe that it is still imperative to hold a memorial ceremony on Sept. 11 to show that what happened on that tragic day will never be forgotten by our generation as well as the generations to come. By holding this ceremony 13 years later, it shows that we are keeping our promise to never forget," Dean said.
By tradition, the service will include a student reflection by Student Association President Priscilla Burke, and a faculty reflection by Dr. Beth Dixon, professor of philosophy. Music will be performed by the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir with a prayer offered by Mary Skillan, director of campus ministry at Blessed John XXII Newman Center.
Paying Tribute To Our Own
Typically held at Hawkins Pond, this year’s ceremony had to be moved because of renovations and repairs being made to the pond that are slated to be finished summer 2015.
Michael Cashman, assistant director of the Center for Student Involvement and faculty secretary of ODK, said the ceremony’s relocation will impact the incorporation of the 9/11 memorial, a marker that was installed at Hawkins Pond that remembers Robert Sutcliffe ’84 and William Erwin ’92. Both were SUNY Plattsburgh alumni who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Centers. Though the marker will not be present during the ceremony, both will be mentioned before a moment of silence.
Dr. Douglas Skopp, SUNY distinguished teaching professor of history emeritus, remembers both students vividly.
“Both were capable and promising young men. They were both doing what they wanted to do, both business majors on the upper floors of the World Trade Centers,” Skopp said.
Significance Remains 13 Years Later
Although it has been more than a decade since the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11 still weighs heavy on Americans every day.
“This (day) was one of high emotions; I think it is important for us to hold such an event to stay connected with our history and with the importance of the event itself. It would be a tragedy not to remember those who perished, as well as the families and friends who were impacted,” Cashman said.
Though most students enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh were between the ages of five and nine when the attacks occurred, several still feel the importance of the memorial. In particular, many SUNY Plattsburgh students are from downstate and were directly impacted by the attacks.
“I remember a few years ago, former SA President Charlie Peppers spoke very eloquently about how he could see the burning buildings from his classroom. I think we are still emotionally connected to this, and we are tied to this event so we can learn from the tragedy,” Cashman said.
This ceremony still resonates with SUNY Plattsburgh alumni like Nikki Schiebel, a recent SUNY Plattsburgh grad and last year’s emcee of the ceremony.
“Sept. 11 is still relevant because the motivating hatred still remains. It is a reminder that despite the strides human civilization may make, until there is tolerance of each other, this hated will exist,” she said.
Hope Moves Us Forward
Skopp remembers he wanted to teach history so we could learn from it but said he feels it isn’t happening. However, there is always a glimmer of hope.
“I always ended classes with reasons to hope; we all have reasons to hope and work together to solve whatever has divided us,” he said.
Guests are asked to arrive at the ceremony 10-15 minutes early. For more information, contact Michael Cashman at 518-564-4830.