UM community remembers 9/11 with candlelight vigil

Photo by Tori Kichler // Hurricane Staff

Students gathered in the University Center Lower Lounge on Thursday night to remember and honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Organized by the Department of Student Affairs, the “9-11-01 We Remember Candlelight Vigil” has been held annually every year since the day that now lives in history.

Guest speakers focused on the importance of remembering our fallen citizens, the tragic loss of life and the value of freedom and peace.

“Seven years ago today, we all remember where we were and what we were doing when we found out,” said Student Government president Brandon Gross to over 200 students, faculty and staff in attendance. “We always will remember, and we always should remember.”

Evelina Galang, associate professor in the Department of English, delivered an emotional essay reflecting her thoughts and experiences.

“Since 9/11, I have been trying not to take people for granted,” she said. “It was not easy, but it was my lesson to learn.”

Galang encouraged everybody present to try to learn from the attacks.

“What can you, in your own personal way, do to make sure the lives lost that day were not lost in vain?” she said.

Also speaking was Chaplain Joe Lortie, who delivered a prayer for all those who lost their lives in the attacks and for the soldiers who are now fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and worldwide. Chaplain Lortie also prayed for peace.

Towards the end of the service, H. Bert Gonzalez, from the office of city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, presented a plaque to Student Affairs on behalf of the City of Miami. The commendation recognizes the department and the university for upholding their tradition of honoring the victims of Sept. 11 every year.

Following a dramatic video presentation produced by Nathalia Gillot, a professor at Miami-Dade College, and a few concluding words by Gross, candles lit up one by one around the room as students quietly filtered out.

“No matter how many years go by, it’s always so sad to relive the moment,” senior Scott Joseph said.

Sophomore Emmanuel Berchmans is glad that the university maintains its tradition of holding this annual memorial service.

“It’s good to see that we’re remembering what we felt after that moment,” he said. “We should continue that spirit and carry on that memory not just today, but every day of the year.”