Remembering 9/11

The College has scheduled two events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Honors Center has organized a panel discussion on Thursday, Sept. 8, and the College is hosting a flag-planting ceremony in remembrance of those who lost their lives and in recognition of all first responders. The ceremony will take place at noon on Friday, Sept. 9, on the Old Main Quad.

Both of these events are open to the entire campus community and to the public.

President Donald P. Christian will preside over the ceremony. Scheduled speakers include a first responder from the local community, the Rev. Tobias Anderson from Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Paltz, and James Halpern, professor of psychology and director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health. Halpern was at the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11 attacks to offer mental health first aid.

Members of the New Paltz Rescue Squad, the New Paltz Fire Department, the New Paltz Police Department and the University Police Department will participate in the flag-planting ceremony.

Campus chimes will ring on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 8:46, 9:03, 9:37 and 10:03 a.m. (the times of the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers and Pentagon and the crash of the fourth jet in Shanksville, Pa.) The community is encouraged to reflect in silence as the chimes sound. After the last chimes, members of the community are welcome to bring home a flag in memory.

In addition to its commemorative ceremony, the Honors Center is sponsoring a panel discussion titled “Ten Years On…Reflections on 9/11,” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, in the Honors Center. The moderator will be Gerald Benjamin, associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO).

According to Honors Center Interim Director Patricia Sullivan, panelists include Lewis Brownstein, professor of political science, presenting “Rethinking American Security in the Aftermath of 9/11;” Nancy Kassop, professor of political science, presenting “Law vs. Politics in the Response to 9/11: One at the Expense of the Other?;” Jerry Persaud, assistant professor of communication and media, presenting “Pedagogy vs. Patriotism: A Decade of Teaching and Learning about 9/11;” and Hamilton Stapell, assistant professor of history, presenting “9/11 and Historical Memory.”

In addition to the 9/11 commemorative events occurring later this week on campus, the Sojourner Truth Library opened a display featuring student memories of the attacks. This exhibit is a sampling of the memories shared by the general public about the events of 9-11 and is a
continuation of a web-based project that Phyllis Freeman, Jan Schmidt and Karla Vermeulen, began last spring. To view the full project or add your memories or thoughts about this day visit

The general population can post their memories of that day and their reflections about the impact that 9/11 has had on them over the past decade. In April a collection of excerpts from the website was displayed in the library, with a guest book where viewers could write their stories. Dozens of current New Paltz students, who were in elementary or middle school at the time of the attacks, shared their memories at that time. The new library display features excerpts from those students’ entries, organized by theme to demonstrate how deeply experiencing such a momentous event during childhood has shaped this generation. For example:

“I remember being terribly confused about what was going on around me. People were anxious and worried and I was only 12. I remember walking home from school in Queens and smelling an unpleasant, burned smell. I remember the wind blew over a lot of smoke and the air was thick with the smell of smoke and ashes. I remember never feeling completely safe after that day again, especially in NYC.”

We hope you’ll stop by to read these powerful and moving reflections between now and September 18, and will encourage your students to do so as well. You can also read the full entries from more than 70 contributors online, and can share your own story at which will remain live indefinitely as a collective archive of experiences.