Honoring 9/11

Six years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, St. John’s remembered the victims of 9/11 in a Candlelight Vigil, held at 9 p.m. in the Saint Thomas More Church.

“On this night, we join together with millions of Americans and join our hearts to theirs,” said Rev. John Kettelberger, the Director of Residence Ministry, during his opening words.
Each person in attendance received a candle, giving them the opportunity to, as Rev. Kettelberger noted, “share the light with one another.”

During the vigil, the reverend brought up the word “sacredness,” saying that it, “like holiness, comes from within human beings.” He added, “September 11 has much to do with sacredness.”

The Voices of Victory choir sang during the memorial service, and Resident Advisors Cameron McLinden and Jen Villa led prayers. Villa read a passage from the Book of Isaiah about bringing justice to all nations, while McLinden asked for those in attendance to “pray for peace and an end to the grief for those who have lost loved ones.” He added that we should all “hope for a world where everyone can live together.”

At one point during the service, those in attendance were asked to link their arms in solidarity, while Voices of Victory sang.
As the vigil came to a close, Rev. Kettelberger asked those in attendance to extinguish their candles, as they ended with a final prayer.

The candlelight vigil has been a tradition at St. John’s for six years. “The candles have a special feel,” said Jimmy Walters, Resident Campus Minister, because “you can see the students’ faces illuminated.”

As the packed crowd filed out of St. Thomas More Church, students shared their sentiments about the memorial.
“The candles were my favorite part,” said freshman Alycia Marcolini. “It was symbolic of the fallen heroes we were remembering.”

Freshman Mike Sherry agreed. “I loved it,” he said. “I lost my uncle in 9/11, and this tribute was terrific. I’ve been to so many of these, and honestly, I didn’t think it’d be this nice.”

Walters stressed that September 11 happened “only 6 years ago.” He explained, “It’s still something close to our hearts,” and emphasized how many St. John’s alumni died that day.

Besides the candlelight vigil, St. John’s held two other memorial services, one at 8:35 a.m. to coincide with the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and another one at 12:15 p.m.

“This is an opportunity to come together and pay tribute,” said Walters. “There are still a lot of open wounds.”

Other memorial services were held in New York City yesterday, as well. The official observance of the anniversary of September 11 took place at the site of Ground Zero, from 8 a.m. to noon. During this memorial service, the names of the victims were read, while music played in the background.