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SUNY Plattsburgh Holds Annual 9/11 Commemoration

WAMC/Pat Bradley

SUNY Plattsburgh’s annual 9-11 commemoration was held at noon today. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.

Many of the students at SUNY Plattsburgh are from the downstate and New York City region. When the Twin Towers collapsed, many students were affected during the crisis. As the tragedy unfolded, officials also learned that two alumni had died in the collapse of the towers.

Every year, a memorial ceremony is held on the campus.  Following a moment of silence, Student Association President Priscilla Burke reflected on the day with those gathered. “Thirteen years ago someone lost a mother, father, sister, brother, uncle or grandma.  Today is a day to not only remember those we have lost and pay tribute to the heroes of 9/11, but also a day we as a country stand tall in unity to show support for one another. My close friend from elementary school lost her father on this day. And  I thought I lost my mom.”

The Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir sings as Director of Campus Ministry Mary Skillan speaks.  “A prayer for 9/11 composed by Thomas L. McDonald.  Dear Lord, as we remember the evils of September 11th, let us turn our hearts and minds towards the good found only in you. Be close to those who mourn. The parents who lost children. The children who never knew a parent. And all who lost a loved one. Let time never lessen the impact of this day. May we never forget. And banish from the world the darkness that allows such hate to fester and grow. And let your peace flourish on this earth.”

SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Student Involvement Assistant Director Michael Cashman was a student at the college 13 years ago.  “I just remember how people were walking around very dazed, very confused. Scared. But also people were checking in with one another. Have you had an opportunity to talk with your family? How are your friends?  The support and loving was just outpouring. I remember that the school actually sent some busses downstate to allow students to reconnect with their families and friends.”

Mary Skillan is a Roman Catholic commissioned lay minister. On 9/11, she was working as a dental hygienist.  “What I’ll never, ever forget is my daughter was a freshmen in high school at PHS. They were watching television as it unfolded and they watched the second plane fly into the second tower. And she called me just absolutely hysterical. You know, why are they doing this to us? What’s going on?  It’s a day I’ll  never forget.”

SUNY Plattsburgh has installed a permanent memorial to Robert Sutcliffe, class of 1984, and William Erwin, class of 1992, the graduates who perished in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley
SUNY Plattsburgh 9/11 memorial

The annual ceremony was moved this year from that site due to nearby construction to the plaza at the student center.
The college art museum currently has on loan a sculpture made from steel from the World Trade Center by John Van Alstine and Noah Savett titled ”Tempered By Memory.”

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