Sept. 11, 2002
On a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001, terror struck out of the clear blue sky. For the first time since Pearl Harbor, American soil was attacked when terrorists hijacked four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania, killing more than 3,000 U.S. citizens and destroying the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center. Across the country, people watched as nightmares became reality and waited to see if they would make it to another day. At JMU, students gathered on The Commons for a candlelight vigil, praying for the victims and their families.
A year has passed since that tragic day.
To mark the anniversary last September, JMU students held several events to pay homage to those killed in the attacks. An Interfaith Prayer Service was held by Campus Ministries and the Wilson Hall bells tolled to mark the times that the four planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania: 8:46, 9:03, 9:43 and 10:10 a.m.
Ribbons were passed out on the Commons from 11 a.m. to noon, and then a flag ceremony was held on the Quad in front of Wilson Hall. The JMU ROTC Color Guard led the ceremony, and the crowd of hundreds observed a five-minute moment of silence. Two members of the Marching Royal Dukes played Taps.
A candlelight vigil was held on The Commons that night. JMU President Linwood H. Rose asked all of those attending to pray for the families of the JMU alumni who were killed at the World Trade Center, and praised JMU students for coming together as a family to bear witness. The crowd sang Amazing Grace and students took turns at an open mic to reflect on the events and effects of Sept. 11, 2001.
While memories of that horrific day resonate beyond Sept. 11, 2002, a "Day of Remembrance" offered them expression and a receptive community.
Story by Allison Mall ('04), Photos by Matt Carasella ('03)