September 11 memorial acknowledges historic happenings
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 17:09
Members of the IUP community gathered in the Oak Grove Tuesday to remember the victims of the terror attacks 11 years earlier.
“It was a really overwhelming event,” Joe Boyer (sophomore, business marketing) said, of Sept. 11, 2001. “I was only eight at the time; to have the concept of terrorism explained to me and the idea of loss on that big of a scale… It was a lot to take in.”
The day was eerily reminiscent of that fateful morning, the sun shining down upon the memorial attendees as they filtered in to the service.
A brief yet muffled chatter arose as attendees cordially greeted one another before returning to sit in somber silence.
IUP musicians opened the ceremony at 8:30 a.m. as members of the university’s ROTC presented the colors.
Student Government Association (SGA) President Taylor Billman was the first speaker to take the podium. Billman spoke of his personal experience of 9/11, describing himself as having a “flashbulb memory” of the day.
Billman had been in his third grade class in Hamburg, Pa.
He recalled being dismissed from school early and watching footage of the tragedy as it aired on television. His parents, he said, were unsure of the events to follow.
The days that followed provided a contrast to the hopelessness of the event.
Hope spread throughout the nation as volunteers banded together to offer their services to those affected by the attacks.
In the face of disaster, when it would’ve been so simple to forfeit all hope, our nation joined together and vowed not to let the tragedy destroy them.
A series of chimes rang out over the Oak Grove, and a moment of silence separated Billman’s speech from IUP President Michael Driscoll’s.
Driscoll told of the university’s more personal ties to the attack as he spoke of the loss of three alumni: William Moskal, Donald Jones and William “Bill” Sugra.
Moskal (safety sciences, Class of ’79) was a native of Johnstown, Pa. and had worked for insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan.
On Sept. 11, he had been attending a meeting at the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Jones graduated from the Eberly College of Business in 1980 and had been employed as a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald, along with Sugra (science, Class of ’93).
Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm, took the most losses of any other business in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The firm lost more than 600 employees in the attacks.