2015 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony

IUP hosted its annual September 11 Remembrance Ceremony on September 11, 2015.

Speakers included IUP President Michael Driscoll; Erika Fenstermacher, a psychology major from Butler who has been nominated to serve as the student member of the IUP Council of Trustees; and Glenn Cannon, a 1971 IUP graduate and member of the Council of Trustees.

The ceremony was held in front of the university's September 11 memorial in the Oak Grove, which features a 13-foot remnant of the World Trade Center, on long-term loan to the university from the Kovalchick family, of Indiana. IUP's Wind Ensemble presented music pre- and post-ceremony, and members of the IUP ROTC cadre presented and retired the colors. Michael Hood, dean of the College of Fine Arts, served as emcee for the program.

The ceremony remembered the three IUP alumni lost in the World Trade Center attacks: William Moskal, a 1979 graduate; Donald Jones, a 1980 graduate; and William Sugra, a 1993 graduate. Both Jones and Sugra worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the north tower of the World Trade Center. Jones was a bond broker from Bucks County. Sugra lived in Manhattan and worked for e-Speed, Cantor Fitzgerald's electronic trading unit.

Remarks by President Driscoll

President Michael Driscoll speaks at the 2015 September 11 RemembranceEveryone has a story about what they were doing when they heard that our nation was under attack.

Here in western Pennsylvania, just like in New York and Washington, D.C., it was a beautiful day. The sky was bright blue with no cloud cover at all. The morning air was cool, and the leaves were just starting to become a little dry, but they hadn't yet started to fall.

It was a typical Tuesday, until 8:46 that morning. Then the north tower of the World Trade Center was hit, and what had been typical was turned upside down. The nation was stunned, and our lives changed forever.

In 2001, many of IUP's current students were in elementary or preschool. I ask you to think back…

Perhaps you were having a few carefree moments on the playground or were in the middle of a reading lesson when, suddenly, your day was interrupted with this confusing news that passenger airplanes were being used to attack our country.

Maybe some of your teachers cried. Maybe some tried to explain what was happening. I'll bet a few of you were dismissed early when a parent signed you out of school.

After all, no one knew that the horror would stop after the plane went down in Shanksville. Many people were certain more would come.

Do you remember that afternoon, after school? You couldn't see any trace of air traffic in the skies. You couldn't hear the engine of even a small aircraft. The Federal Aviation Commission had commanded all planes to land, and the sky was silent.

And, I'm sure that in your household, like in mine, all the adults were glued to the telephone and television, desperate for as much information as they could find. They needed to learn about friends and relatives who might have been caught up in the day's events.

The 2,977 victims came from 115 different nations. They ranged in age from 2 to 85. The death toll included three of our alumni—Donald Jones, William Moskal, and William Sugra.

That day changed the world's political and economic landscape with reverberating effects that have affected millions upon millions of people. September 11 represents some horrific statistics 1:

  • 343 paramedics and firefighters, and 60 police officers perished.
  • 3,051 children lost a parent that day.
  • 20 percent of Americans knew someone who was hurt or killed on September 11.
  • One of the subsequent military actions was Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 2,343 U.S. troops died.
  • In New York, 146,100 people lost their jobs because of the destruction, and the economic loss on the city in the next month was $105 billion.

From the clean up in New York alone, nearly 2 million tons of debris were hauled from lower Manhattan, taking more than 3 million man hours.2 Thanks to the Kovalchick family, one small section of the World Trade Center made its way here to IUP, and it serves as a lasting reminder.

For all the fear, loss, heartache, destruction, and sorrow that resulted, difficult as it may be to believe, we can find some positive.

I remember—and perhaps you remember—that patriotism soared.

We have become more vigilant for our own safety, and while that sometimes seems like a burden, it's an improvement.

Bickering in Washington ceased for a bit, and, in many ways, our society became more globally aware. For example, applications to the Peace Corps rose by 40 percent in the following year.

And, right here at IUP, we've gathered to remember all that happened every year since. In the very first gathering, the Oak Grove was filled from the library to Oakland Avenue.

I join Erika by encouraging you to make this anniversary count. Find a deed that does good, and dedicate it to those we lost that day.

On June 13, 2014, I stood on the grounds of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum—at ground zero.

I spent my time at the North and South Pools. Each pool fills what was the foundation of one of the twin towers. At the center of each pool, water falls into a seemingly bottomless hole, and looking up from the pit to the sky I saw the new One World Trade Center building, sometimes called the “Freedom Tower,” in the final stages of construction. And surrounding each pool are bronze plaques listing the names of all people killed in the September 11 attacks

I located those for Donald Jones, Bill Moskal, and Bill Sugra, and I contemplated the lives of these three members of the IUP family whom I'll never meet.

Because, as the stone marker says, “May we never forget…”

Remarks by Erika Fenstermacher

Student Erika Fenstermacher speaks at the  2015 September 11 RemembranceGood morning.

On September 11, 2001 I was just seven years old, a first grader home sick from school. My mother had the television turned on as I watched the first tower fall. She quickly sent me outside to play, without much explanation.

I remember the phone calls and the parents' whispers. I remember my twin sister telling me that we were not allowed to have recess outside at school for a while.

As I grew older and more curious, I watched a documentary about Cantor-Fitzgerald, a company that lost 658 of its employees that day.

Last year, for a social psychology course, I read The Unthinkable, a book that included the story of Rick Rescorla, a retired US Army officer who served as Morgan Stanley's security director. Because he had experienced the bombing of the Twin Towers parking garage in 1993, Mr. Rescorla made a point of drilling Morgan Stanley's staff with evacuation practices. He conducted surprise evacuations and insisted that business executives climb stairs, all in preparation of an emergency. Rescorla's intuition, concern, preparation, and guidance managed to help save most of Morgan Stanley's 2,687 employees in 2001. He was last seen on the tenth floor of the south tower, heading up.

My cousin Sam was at work in the Pentagon that day, about two sections away from where terrorists crashed the plane. Thankfully he survived.

One died. One survived.

This contrast often prompts me to think about the aspirations and hopes of all the victims.

The terrorists did not discriminate; people of all walks of life were killed or injured. I wonder…What were their dreams? What would they have done with their lives, had they been spared? This inspires me to be a better daughter and a better friend. It fuels me to be kinder to others, as our time here is so short. Maybe these people aspired to travel the world; become a teacher, a café owner, an artist, or a parent. Whatever their dreams may have been, perhaps their untimely deaths inspire us all to be better people during the precious years we have left on this earth.

We owe it to the victims and survivors, to richly remember.

Today's school-age children have little concept of what happened on September 11. Everyone here today has heard stories of the many selfless acts that occurred at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville. It is important that we continue to educate our youth about these tragedies, not only out of patriotism but also to provide them examples of selflessness.

I think the best way to honor the families and those involved is to serve. Use this day as a day of service and love. Channel every bit of altruism you have and let it shine throughout the day. Maybe even the week, the month, or for all of your days.

This week various student organizations will be posted around campus to take registrations for a blood drive that will take place on September 16. Their goal is to save 3,000 lives. I think taking part in this is an excellent way to honor the fallen of September 11.

May we always remember and may we always be united.

Remarks by Trustee Glenn Cannon

Trustee Glenn Cannon speaks at the 2015 September 11 Remembrance CeremonyGood morning. This is a day that humbles us. It is a very unique day in that it brings all of us together—the military, public safety, and every citizen. Our world changed forever that day. It changed the world for all of us as Americans, not just the 2,977 that died that day nor the 6,805 brave soldiers who have died in the war on terror that followed but for all of us.

Everyone responded in these attacks. Both trained personnel and volunteers worked to clear debris and usher the injured to care. The average citizen would become a first responder and help save the lives of others and assist in the recovery of those that lost their lives.

There is a special place in the heart and mind for those who rushed to those scenes, as someone said, rushing towards the catastrophe rather than away from it. In New York, DC and in the sky over Pennsylvania, brave men and women put their lives at risk to save the lives of others.

As we reflect back on this event, we should remember the fallen from that day and from the war that we continue to fight. We should remember them with honor and dignity and keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

We should keep in mind that out of that senseless tragedy came greatness. If you recall, after 9-11 there was a lull in criminal activity in New York City. Church attendance was up and the American flag started to appear in more and more places. A sense of patriotism welled as our military mobilized for war. When you think about it, it was pretty incredible that our diverse society came together in that way.

I recall a World War II veteran proudly looking at the American flags that had sprung up in my hometown and he said “I've seen this before.” Of course he was talking about Pearl Harbor. That's why I will suggest that we not only remember the fallen and their loved ones, but on this day, we should remember that greatness.

We are a great nation with many great people and not just the ones that wear uniforms like the military, police, fire, and EMS folks, but those that help their fellow citizens when necessity demands it.

When terrorists took action to bring that plane down over Shanksville, the brave people on that flight acted in the finest tradition of citizen soldiers and they displayed the same courage as public safety and military personnel displayed in other parts of our country.

But of course, what was remarkable about what the passengers and crew did is that they were not sworn or trained to defend this country; they simply acted spontaneously, like Americans. They continue to serve as an inspiration to us all. We now know that through the actions of those 40 passengers and crew aboard flight 93 the attack on the United States Capitol was thwarted. They became the first to fight in the war against terror and on this day we can proudly reflect on their memory as a symbol of our strength as a nation.

Today we take the opportunity to remember those that have gone before us. In the emergency services, it is a tradition to honor outstanding performances. We honor outstanding men and women, not for dying, as death comes to us all eventually, we honor them for how they died and how they lived.

Today as we honor and remember the victims of the attacks, let us also light the darkness with the memories and glories of those who have died in the service of their neighbors, communities, and our nation. Their brave souls are among us; carried brightly in our hearts in gratitude, in joy, in sorrow, yes, but also in the certainty that God looks after those who give such a full measure of their devotion.

The people we remember today were our fathers and sons, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and daughters. They were our friends. Humanitarian, educator and athlete Arthur Ashe once said “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It's not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.” These people we remember today are true heroes who meet that definition. Let's remember them as they lived. Let us all live in ways that will honor their ultimate contribution to our lives. May God bless them all and our great country and the men and women who serve and protect her. Thank you.