It has been 19 years since America was shaken by the events of Sept. 11.

To remember the day and those who lost their lives, IUP and its surrounding community came together to host a program of commemoration Friday at 8:35 a.m.

The program was also live streamed in order for those in remote locations and those still trying to social distance to be able to watch. It also gave those unable to be there a chance to watch at a later time.

Lasting roughly one hour, those in attendance included members of IUP’s Reserve Officers’ Training Camp ROTC, administration, members of the wind ensemble (who performed at the ceremony) and veterans.

The program took place at the edge of the Oak Grove near Stapleton Library.

“Nineteen years ago, we as a nation vowed we would remember the events of this day,” said LTC Dennis Faulkner, an ROTC professor at IUP.  “I am pleased by virtue of your presence here; we have maintained that promise.”

Faulkner spoke of the men and women who risked their lives to save others during the collapse of the World Trade Center and the aftermath of the day’s events.

“That day we saw hundreds, if not thousands of heroes run to the danger,” he said. “Why would they do this? Why would they take that unnecessary danger upon themselves for others they likely don’t know or have personal cause to make such sacrifice?”

After a brief pause, Faulkner answered the question.

“They did it because they believed in their charge.”

After Faulkner’s speech, the wind ensemble played “America the Beautiful,” then dedicated four chimes to the four planes of that day: the two that hit the World Trade Center, the one that attacked the Pentagon and the one that crashed in Shanksville, PA.

President Michael Driscoll also spoke at the program to honor those who lost their lives. He recounted where he was and how 9/11 unfolded for him. He said he remembered his wife telling him something happened in New York.

“We do not have time to think, nor do we have to think very hard to put ourselves back into that Tuesday morning,” he said.

He said the day was “cloudless and beautiful,” but it did not stay that way.

“It became a day of horror, death and sadness,” he said. “It became one of the darkest days in our country’s history.”

After the events of 9/11, Driscoll said the country was scared and untrusting. Yet despite the months of agony, he said the country was able to unite.

IUP has commemorated the day in many different ways through the past 19 years, including a memorial made of debris from the World Trade Center. The piece was dedicated in 2002 and sits in the Oak Grove where the program took place. It can be seen in the livestream next to the podium.

During the Sept. 11 attacks, IUP lost three of its alumni. Those alumni are William Moskal (safety sciences, 1979), Donald Jones (marketing, 1980) and William Sugra (finance, 1993). The three were mentioned and remembered during the program.

“We will continue to honor them and their lives, which were cut short,” Driscoll said. “We owe it to the victims, their families and those who unselfishly fought to save others while putting their own lives in jeopardy.”

Sugra’s family has dedicated a fund in his name. Each year, they hold a golf tournament, which helps to fund almost $100,000 to various organizations according to an IUP student from Allentown who majors in finances.

Nadene L’Amoreaux, a professor of counseling, also spoke at the event.

“There are many reasons to keep this event alive in our memories,” she said. “Most particularly, to remind ourselves and others that this cataclysmic event and the people who lost their lives on that day matter.”

She also used the time to reflect on the current pandemic, reminding those in attendance that it is another time that the U.S. needs to come together.

“On this day of remembrance for those for whom we grieve on the anniversary of 9/11, I hope we will also choose to honor those precious souls by committing to a new normal that includes peace,” she said.

The program also honored the police, firefighters and EMT who were in attendance. Faulkner asked them to come forward. As they stood, bagpipes played in their honor.

Faulkner also asked to keep other first responders and military members in everyone’s thoughts as they continue to work across the globe.

Volunteers of the event were also recognized and honored by him.

The event closed with members of the ROTC retiring the colors.

The livestream of the program can be found on YouTube at

www.youtube.com/watch?v=20wQNa_LWRA

Even though it has been 19 years, it is important to reflect on the attacks and educate future generations, as incoming freshmen are too young to recall Sept. 11

“As time passes, critical events become distant in our rearview mirrors,” Driscoll said. “It takes pride to bring them back from the depths of history. We cannot allow that to happen to Sept.11th.”

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