RIO GRANDE — A group of students, staff and community members converged on the campus of the University of Rio Grande yesterday to remember not only the thousands of men, women and children who tragically lost their lives 11 years ago during the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, but also the countless Americans left to try to make sense of that unthinkable tragedy.
The 11th Annual 9-11 Memorial Ceremony, arranged by the unified efforts of the URG Veterans Association and the URG Student Senate, was held at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The ceremony began with a greeting by Student Senate President and Veterans Association Vice President Tony Burnette. Two uniformed men, one being Veterans Association President Todd Foley, raised the American flag to half-mast while university alum and current employee Ashley Horsley sang a heartwarming a cappella version of “The Star Spangled Banner”.
Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Foley with participation from the audience. A gentle prayer was delivered by an area pastor followed by URG Admissions Counselor Courtney Lively’s respectful introduction of keynote speaker and Professor of Political Science Judith Thompson.
Thompson is credited with organizing the first event on the Rio campus starting in 2002. At previous memorial events, the group has read each of the victim’s names at the university bell tower. It was stated that just reading the names took over five hours with volunteer support and encouragement from university staff and faculty. The list of names is now a digital presentation and can be used in a public forum.
Thompson’s Tuesday morning speech was described by some as “poignant, well-written and delivered with the grace of a veteran professor”.
URG student Ali Sullivan of Oak Hill attended the event, and like nearly every American who was old enough to remember that day, she knew exactly where she was on September 11, 2001. She was in second grade.
Editor’s note: On behalf of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and the many communities within Gallia County, we extend sincere gratitude for the organizers and participants of this important annual event.