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SUNY Plattsburgh Holds Annual 9/11 Commemoration

 A plaque adjacent to Hawkins Pond at SUNY Plattsburgh honors two graduates who died when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11
Pat Bradley
A plaque adjacent to Hawkins Pond at SUNY Plattsburgh honors two graduates who died when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11

Alongside Hawkins Pond on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus a plaque is nestled in a small cedar hedge honoring two graduates who died when the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11th, 2001. Every year the campus holds a commemoration ceremony next to the memorial. This year’s commemoration was short and sparsely attended in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

The Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society organizes the annual commemoration and this year kept the event minimal due to continuing COVID concerns.

On this 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks chapter president Bella Anderson stood beside the plaque saying it reminds us of those who lost their lives and everyone who was negatively impacted by the events.

“We have dedicated the memorial to two SUNY Plattsburgh alumni who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. They were Robert Sutcliffe, a 1984 graduate who worked as a broker for Harvey Young and Yurman. And William Erwin a 1992 graduate who was broker for Cantor Fitzgerald," she says. "We would also like to officially recognize Brian Scott Falb who was a 9/11 first responder that died of cancer in March of 2017. Brian was a New York state trooper and graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1992.”

Associate Professor and Chair of the Communications Sciences and Disorders Department Dr. Ashley Gambino related how she arrived on the Plattsburgh State campus for her first year in the fall of 2000.

“I was a second year student here. Actually I’m a SUNY Plattsburgh alum. And I was actually in the Health Center waiting room and they had a television at the time. And right after my appointment I ran back to my dorm room. And being from the New York City area I was frantically trying to get in touch with my family but the phone lines were jammed. We couldn’t, we had to call and call and call and call," Gambino remembers. "The world didn’t have the social media and the quick email access that we have today so we were really all relying on our phones. Everyone in my life down there was okay but there were people here who were not okay because there were people here who had friends and family members who they couldn’t get in touch with. Because we have so many students from the New York City metro area it really did touch the North Country.”

Anderson, a SUNY senior, was nine months old during the attacks.

“Even though it really didn’t affect me as an infant the people around us and the people who taught us and really brought me into this world and into this life it impacted them every single day. When it happened especially. You know it still impacted how I went to school and I think it shaped how I view traumatic events that happen to us as a country," says Anderson. "I think really to me it symbolizes unification, coming together as a country when bad things happens to us. So even though it might not have affected me as personally as it did other people I think that it still helped me shape that view of community and coming together to move forward.”

The SUNY Plattsburgh Art Museum has on loan a sculpture titled “Tempered By Memory” by Noah Savett that was crafted using steel recovered from the World Trade Center.

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