Campus unites to honor 9/11 victims, 17 years later

By Emily Kim and Theresa Evans 

On the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Rider community gathered in front of Moore Library to honor the heroes and victims that were personally affected, including eight Rider University and Westminster Choir College alumni. The students, faculty, staff and administration were joined by local police, firefighters, EMS departments and National Guard soldiers.

The welcome ceremony was presented by Boris Vilic, dean of the college of continuing studies and the university President Gregory Dell’Omo, who stated the opening remarks. Prior to the traditional wreath laying, Reverend Katie Mulligan led the invocation in remembrance and honor of the victims, their families and all of the first responders that did everything in their power to protect our country in times of hardship.

“The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is an opportunity for us, as a community, to gather in tribute to those who lost their lives or were injured in the terrorist attacks in 2001,” said Vilic. “It is also an opportunity to remember the spirit of unity, selflessness, and compassion that we witnessed during the aftermath, and commit ourselves to be of service to others. At Rider, we also remember our students and alumni who were killed in the attacks by reading their names, thus showing that they will never be forgotten.” 

Catherine Rommel, a sophomore popular music major, performed a moving rendition of the National Anthem during the ceremony followed by the wreath laying by Dell’Omo and Olivia Barone, Student Government Association President. 

“It’s a huge privilege to get this opportunity,” Rommel said. “I was proud of myself [because] I have shown my professors that I am capable of performing for the school. I didn’t really care in the moment how good my musicianship was, I just sang, uniting people with the music.”

The bugle call was played by the President of the Rider University Veterans Association, Zane Birnie, at the memorial site to accompany the lowering of the American flag.

“Among the gathered faculty, staff and students are those who have lost loved ones in the attack and, therefore, the service is a way for us to show them that we stand by them,” said Vilic. “We also invite the first responders and active duty service members to join us in order for us to thank them for their service.”

 Additionally, the names of the Rider University alumni who lost their lives on Sept. 11, were read aloud by Barone. Each name was followed by a bell toll sounded by Westminster Choir College student, David Sherman. 

“It is hard to believe the events of that tragic day took place 17 years ago. Although much time has passed, it is still as important as ever to remember the thousands of lives that were impacted by those heinous acts of terrorism, ” Brown said. 

Mulligan made a benediction of blessings for the lives that were lost and the families that were affected. Vilic recited the closing statements at this event.

“As time moves forward and our lives and world has changed, we still find it important and helpful to come together as a community to reflect on that day, and observe a moment together in honor of the victims, especially the Rider University alumni who lost their lives, and honor the sacrifices of the brave first responders,” Brown said. 

Rider University continues to encourage students and faculty to participate in numerous service projects with local agencies in honor of the attacks on 9/11. In efforts to keep students engaged and aware of historical circumstances, Rider University students received a guided tour of the Flight 93 Memorial by Doctor Glenn Kashurba. 

Kashurba is currently a child psychiatrist who worked closely with the victims’ families after 9/11.

The Rebovich Institute remains a primary source for the dedication of the Tower of Voices at the memorial.

As stated from the Rider University Statement of Community Values, “In our endeavor to make Rider University a just community, we commit ourselves, as caring individuals… And through the time we spend here, we are forever joined to each other and to Rider University.”

Rider University Remembers:

Mary Yolanda Dowling ‘81 – Princeton Campus

Kenneth Ledee, CSS – Lawrenceville Campus

Gary Lutnick ‘87 – Lawrenceville Campus

Domenick “Mosh” Mircovich ‘83 – Lawrenceville Campus

Ferdinand “Fred” Morrone ‘77 – Lawrenceville Campus

Thomas Regan ‘80 – Lawrenceville Campus

Alison Wildman ‘93 – Lawrenceville Campus

Kenneth Zelman ‘86 – Lawrenceville Campus

President Gregory Dell’Omo and Student Government Association President Olivia Barone laying the wreath during the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
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