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North Country News

SUNY Plattsburgh Community Remembers 9-11

The SUNY Plattsburgh community paused at noon today to remember the events of 9-11, and to remember two alumni that died when the twin towers collapsed.

Every year students and faculty from the college gather to commemorate the events of 9-11.
          
Rabbi Doctor Kari Tuling stepped up and said each year on September 11th, she calls a friend.   “On this day I have an extra task. And that is I have to contact a good friend of mine who had been in the building that day, in the second building. What happened is she saw the smoke from the first building, put her tennis shoes on and told everybody in her office get out, get out now. Ran down all of the stairs.  Kept running until she got to Little Italy.  Called her aunt, because the cell phones hadn’t gone down yet, and her aunt went hysterical and said your building just fell.”

Dean of Education, Health and Human Services Michael Morgan remembered being in his classroom on 9-11.    “I was in a class with 70 students teaching.  And back in that time 14 years ago people didn’t have the types of cell phones that allowed for the transmission of images so quickly like we have today. So there were some phone calls that were occurring and the moment that made it all real for my class and what happened was when a student said that her mother had just witnessed somebody jumping from the World Trade Center.  That’s when the depth of it sunk in.”

Student Association President Senior Kevin Clayton touched on how students are becoming more disconnected from the tragic events of September 11, 2001.   “Our relationship with the towers has been characterized by their absence.  It’s been gone for the last 14 years and we’ve grown up with the aftermath: the changed skyline, the memorials, the war in the Middle East.  And next year at this ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary members of the class of 2020 will be standing with us.  Most of them will have been 3 years old in 2001.  They will have grown up learning about 9-11 and hearing about it but they won’t actually remember it.  So the take-away is that it’s up to us. It’s up to us to remember that day 14 years ago that changed everything. So we need to continue to tell our stories and come together to fulfill our promise to never forget.”

Center for Student Involvement Assistant Director Michael Cashman says one reason for the annual commemoration is to highlight the importance of making it a day of action.   “We talk about the call to service as being the next chapter in September 11th.  There certainly was great and horrible tragedy in the event.  As an annual event we do a food drive in honor of those that perished.  There was a great outpouring of support, of students that went door to door.  And that’s just one way of not only reflecting but honoring the lives of those that were lost.”

The ceremony is held next to a memorial honoring Robert Sutcliffe and William Erwin, SUNY Plattsburgh alumni who died when the Twin Towers collapsed. 

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