The University of Minnesota hosted a tribute for the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Friday afternoon.
The event lasted several hours, consisting primarily of a reading of the names of all those killed in the attacks. Chair of the Board of Regents Dean Johnson and University President Eric Kaler gave opening remarks. The names were read by volunteers, three to five pages at a time.
Last year the University found itself embroiled in national controversy as its student government rejected a resolution calling for a moment of recognition for 9/11 anniversaries.
“There was no question this year that we ought to have this observance,” said Johnson. “Honestly I can’t remember what the push back was or what organization, but it never was a question this year that we put it on on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 to pay our remembrances to those who lost their lives and families who are still grieving.”
The event lasted several hours. Only members of the University community were invited to participate in the reading of names, be that faculty, staff, or students.
“As we get further and further away from September 11th, we can’t forget about what these events meant for our society,” Theo Menon, UMN College Republicans Representative-at-Large said. “After 15 years, we still talk about the aftermath, but we rarely talk about the victims. I think we should recognize both on the anniversary.”
Menon was the person who introduced the idea to student government last year. While the first draft failed, the second succeeded, though only after the University administration stepped in.
“It gives us pause to stop and think about who we are as a nation, what our values are.” Johnson said.
The University has also invited Mark Lewis, Terry Placek, and Scott Wallace, three alumni who survived the attack, to an on-field tribute during the Gophers football game on Saturday against Indiana State. Thomas Burnett, Gary Koecheler, and Clarin Schwartz, alumni killed in the attacks, will also be honored at the game.