By: Rachel Stengel and Katie Zeck
The university commemorated the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by honoring the eight members of Rider’s family lost during the tragedy.
“They are not just names on granite monuments,” said the Rev. Dawn Adamy as she instilled the importance of the bond of humanity felt in the aftermath of Sept. 11th.
Approximately 150 people congregated in front of the New Academic Building, North Hall; students, faculty, firefighters from the Slackwood and Lawrenceville Road Fire Stations, Lawrence Police Officers, Lawrence Emergency Management personnel, National Guard members, the Lawrence City Manager, three Lawrence City Council members, Mayor Greg Puliti and local residents were in attendance.
Anna Friars, Westminster Choir College (WCC) Student Government Association (SGA) president, delivered the opening address. She turned to an unlikely source for inspiration, Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
“His words to me spoke pure as day and were more profound than public figures, personal accounts from survivors or even from what the President of the United States had to say,” said Friars.
She said Stewart compared the aftermath of 9/11 to the message of Martin Luther King Jr. Unity of humankind was the common link.
“‘What matters is that you are humans, living, breathing, loving human beings who can come together with respect and concern for each other in a trying time in our nation,’” quoted Friars.
Bart Luedeke, who was the president of Rider during the 9/11 attacks, reflected on how the Rider community was “just taking care of each other” during the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Many students and staff members had family members who lived and worked in New York City, according to Luedeke. He described students gathering together to watch television coverage of the events and a permeating silence around campus.
“Classes were stopped, but resumed later that day,” he said. “We felt that in resuming classes were could restore order and continuity; especially with the assistance of the faculty.”
Ludeke added that it was “appropriate that the Lawrence Township Police and Fire Departments be in attendance because Rider closely with them on that day to confirm and deny certain information.”
Towards the end of his speech he shed light on the dark event.
“Evil will have its day, we know that and sometimes it will be profound,” said Luedeke. “But it can also inspire us, I think to a greater sense of humanity for all of us and in all of us.”
Rider lost eight family members on Sept. 11, 2001: Mary Yolanda “Yo” Dowling, Kenneth Ledee, Gary Lutnick, Domenick “Mosh” Mircovich, Ferdinand “Fred” Morrone, Thomas Regan, Alison Wildman and Kenneth Zelman. All were current students or graduates at the time of the attack, according to Director of Campus Life and Recreation Programs, Dave Kennan. The Rev. Dawn Adamy, Rider Chaplain described the courageous acts of Dowling and Morrone during the attack. Superintendent of the New York Port Authority, Morrone “drove toward the danger, not away from it,” according to Adamy. He attempted to evacuate people from the 45th floor of the building before it collapsed. Dowling, a former student on the Princeton Campus, used her singing talent to calm people as she held the door for them to escape.
Adamy continued to instill the theme of unity through humanity.
“Yo, Ken, Gary, Mosh, Fred, Tom, Alison and Kenneth loved and were loved,” said Adamy. “They had spouses and children and mothers and fathers and siblings and best friends. They laughed and cried and learned and taught and helped and gave and received. It matters. It matters that Kenny loved to joke with his co-workers or that gary played video games with his nephews, or that Kenneth took his children out for pancakes every weekend, that Tom got up each night and helped his with the late night feedings of their twins, or that Mosh coached little league. It matters I think for us that these members of Rider’s community invested in people. They invested in life.”
Four wreathes were laid by university president, Mordechai Rozanski, dean of students, Anthony Campbell, two local firefighters and one Lawrence Township police officer in honor of the eight. An a cappella musical performance by WCC followed.
Reflecting on the afternoon, Rider student and firefighter for the Lawrence Township Fire Company, James Brundage, believed it was “one of the best 9/11 commemorative ceremonies” he had ever seen.
“The ceremony was great, especially on the beautiful new plaza. It was nice to see that so many people came out to show respect even though it has been so many years since that day. It shows how significant remembering Sept. 11th is.”