AU commemorates 9/11 with candlelight vigil

Students gathered at the Woods-Brown amphitheater to remember a tragedy that shook the world.

A candlelight vigil commemorating the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack was held in the campus amphitheater.

The event was co-hosted by Student Government and the Interfaith Council at Kay Spiritual Life Center.

SG president Sophia Wirth began the vigil with an opening speech on remembering America’s deadliest terrorist attack. She emphasized the importance of the vigil in remembrance of the lives that were lost and the sacrifices that were made 13 years ago.

“It is infrequent that we come together to share in one another’s company, but if there one good thing to come of this day, it is perhaps the feeling of togetherness,” Wirth said.

She was joined by Director of Departmental Affairs Jonah Wolff and Chief of Staff William McNamara, who watched as Wirth spoke to the attendees.

“There is not one of us in this amphitheater who lacks some sort of connection to 9/11,
not one of us who escaped unscathed”
— SG president Sophia Wirth

“There is not one of us in this amphitheater who lacks some sort of connection to 9/11, not one of us who escaped unscathed,” she said.

A moment of silence was held immediately after Wirth’s speech, followed by the lighting of candles by students in the audience, casting the amphitheater in a soft glow.

The event also hosted three spiritual leaders from AU: Jewish Chaplain Jason Benkendorf, Methodist Chaplain Mark Schaefer and Muslim Chaplain Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, who each gave short remarks to the audience.

Ahmad described how 9/11 had affected the Muslim community and how his identity caused confusion immediately after the attack. He also talked about the change the attack had brought not only to the victims’ communities, but also to the perpetrator’s.

“I am both Muslim and American, yet I grieve the same for the victims,” Ahmad said.

A capella groups Dime a Dozen and On a Sensual Note brought special performances to the vigil. Antonio Miller, a junior in Kogod School of Business and a singer from On a Sensual Note, expressed how honored he was to perform.

“I’m really happy that we could sing a song that talks about bringing people together and preaches love,” Miller said.

The students leaving the amphitheater were left to consider the speeches that were made and Wirth’s final quote by Arundhati Roy.

“Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

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