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More than 100 students, faculty, and staff gathered in Farinon College Center this morning to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States one year ago and witness the retiring of the quilt created by the campus community as a response to the events. Another crowd of more than 500 attended an interfaith memorial service at Colton Chapel.

“We gather here this morning on a very solemn, important occasion to remember an event and day that all of us will never forget,” said Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf '55 in opening remarks at the morning ceremony, noting that 3,000 people perished in the savage attacks one year ago. “As we reflect together on what in my view is a day of remembrance and remember the 3,000 individuals, I think it's important to recall that they were not just Americans — though most of them were – but representatives of many countries.”

A campus community horror-struck on Sept. 11 last year came together in significant ways, talking with one another and sharing comfort, noted Rothkopf. Geoffrey Gresh '02 conceived the idea of a quilt created by students, faculty, and staff to record their thoughts and memories, he said.

As the South College bell tolled at approximately 8:50 a.m., those gathered then paused for prayer and reflection.

Rothkopf thanked the organizers of the event, who represented various student groups: Farah Laiwalla '03, president of Muslim Students Association; Sarah Bassin '04, president of Hillel Society; Metin Aslantas '03, president of International Students Association; Morgan Albus '03, president of Student Government; Jacobi Cunningham '03, president of Association of Black Collegians; Jennifer Gentile '03, program coordinator at Landis Community Outreach Center; Greg Staszowski '03, president of Newman Association; and Lisa Schneider '03, president of Residence Hall Council.

The quilt was lowered and placed on the ground, followed by another pause for reflection and viewing of it. The students then folded the quilt and removed it.

“This is not going to be an easy day for any of us,” said Rothkopf, calling on the campus community to think of ways to bring about peace and reconciliation.

“The quilt represents the terrible tragedy that happened in this country,” said Laiwalla shortly before the event. “As president and a member of Muslim Students Association, I want to show understanding and that I share in the pain which so many have suffered.”

Mitchell Feld '05, social action chair of Hillel Society, opened the interfaith memorial service at 12:15 p.m. in Colton Chapel. “We have begun to heal and rebuild, but the painful memory of that day remains,” he said, following with a story of a child who put together a torn-apart map of the world by taping together the pieces according to the picture of a person on the back. “Be a leader and an activist, instead of a follower and a pacifist. We must reach out to others and show that we care.”

Hillel has responded to the Sept. 11 attacks by becoming more diverse and inviting more campus organizations to attend its events, he noted. He urged students to make a difference and “repair the world,” one person at a time.

Nic Tonzetich '04 of Protestant Worship Congregation said never to forget that God is with us, showing love, and is the foundation of our strength. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” he said, reading from Psalm 46. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Becky Geisler '03, an officer in Lafayette Christian Fellowship, borrowed from a sermon by pastor, author, and speaker John Piper to share what she called “a Biblical perspective on death and suffering.” She noted that while almost 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks on the United States, approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. and 56 million worldwide died last year, including 1 million Africans who perished from malaria. God allows death and calamity to reveal the repugnant, futile nature of sin, she explained.

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God,” said Geisler, quoting from the book of Romans. The God who allows suffering also chose his son, Jesus, to be crucified on the cross so that sins could be forgiven, she said.

“The hope that God gives us is not escape from, but triumph over, death and suffering,” Geisler concluded.

Led by Nina Gilbert, director of choral activities, the Concert Choir followed by singing “Motherless Child.”

Muhammad Rafat-ul Islam '05 of Muslim Students Association noted that the Muslim community stands against the terrorist attacks on the United States. “The ensuing grief struck indiscriminately,” said Islam, adding that 200 Muslims were among those killed. “We ask God Almighty to bring peace to their souls.” He said a prayer for those who “lost their lives to terrorism and other horrific acts.”

Britney McCoy '05 of Association of Black Collegians said that while many may have feelings of anger, resentment, and grief, she brought “a message of unity, peace, and hope for the future.”

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand,” said McCoy, quoting from the book of Romans. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

“God has not forgotten about us,” she concluded.

Greg Staszowski '03 of Newman Association admitted that he was at a loss when asked to share his thoughts at the memorial service. Unable to contact his friends in New York, he felt alone when the attacks occurred. Staszowski read from the story of a friend who witnessed much of the carnage in New York, including a person jumping to his death from the World Trade Center to escape flames. The most frightening feeling is the feeling of being alone, he said.

“We must remember that our friends, our family, and even God are always there,” said Staszowski. “He was there with us one year ago, and still is with us nowThrough every step in your life, you are accompanied by friends, family, community, and God.”

The Concert Choir then led those assembled in singing “How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Anne Warner and Rev. Robert Lowry.

Morgan Albus '03, president of Student Government Association, closed the service, mentioning the prayers for those who perished, those left behind, and those who became heroes in their valor. The country has grown closer since Sept. 11 last year, said Albus. “It hopefully has taught us to live and love each day.”

Outside Colton Chapel, rope lines were set up for people to hang messages written on ribbons that were provided. The memorial “ribbon garden” will remain in place Wednesday through Sunday.

The chapel is open all day for prayer and reflection.

Last night, Nadine Strossen, president of American Civil Liberties Union, spoke on “Civil Liberties and National Security” at Oechsle Hall. The talk was sponsored by Lafayette's Ethics Project, which promotes sound moral analysis and reasoning and their application to a full range of contemporary problems.

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