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Gathering for Remembrance

Last Wednesday, the University community gathered together in Irvine Auditorium for a solemn ceremony to remember the thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks. Not only was Irvine filled to capacity with over 1,200 students, faculty and staff, but hundreds more listened from the Perelman Quad as flute selections by Kristen Wermuth filled the air.

A dozen members of the Glee Club then sang New Jerusalem. Chaplain Will Gipson gave the Invocation, then called upon three religious leaders to give their reflections on faith: Rabbi Howard Alpert, Hillel; Imam Kenneth Nur-id Din, Majlis Ash-Shura; and Father Charles Pfeffer, Newman Hall. Remarks (below) from President Rodin were followed by more music from two more student groups, Inspiration and Quaker Notes. After the benediction by Chaplain Gipson, there was a well attended reception in Houston Hall.

This is a terrible, dark time for America, an anxious time for our extended Penn family, and a sad time for humanity.

Thousands of innocent lives--each one irreplaceable and precious--were taken in a wave of evil and destruction that we still are struggling to comprehend.

Many of us will know people whose lives have been taken or will be forever altered.

Today, we unite in mourning their deaths, and we pray for their families and the injured to find the strength to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and carry on.

Gone, too, is the sense of invincibility in which we took our personal safety and national security pretty much for granted.

Now, we must learn the hard way that we can take nothing for granted--that life and every thing we truly hold dear in life are gifts to nourish and cherish, for they can all vanish the next instant.

Today, we are experiencing a range of emotions all strained to maximum pitch. Evil again has been loosed upon the world, this time in our own backyard that we thought was secure.

We are filled with shock, anger, despair, anxiety, confusion, and grief--a brew of understandable reactions that challenges our spiritual beliefs and civic values.

However, I have seen members of the Penn community and Americans everywhere affirm those beliefs and values by unleashing the greatest weapon against evil: our humanity.

I see emergency personnel risk their lives to rescue fellow citizens by the thousands.

I see our entire Penn community standing together as one family--each of us reaching out to help a friend or stranger in pain or need.

Through each act or gesture of our humanity, we take one step toward resisting evil and healing the wounds that evil has inflicted on our country and world.

The course of America's history has changed forever.

The world we knew before the awful events of September 11, 2001, is gone. But we have the power to transmute the most horrific national catastrophe into a resolve for moral action that establishes the primacy of goodness in the world.

We can and we will emerge from this ordeal sadder, to be sure, but richer in compassion and wisdom, and more determined to affirm the best of our common humanity.

We come together to mourn.

We stand together…To heal.

We leave together a community.

-- President Judith Rodin

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 4, September 18, 2001


September 18, 2001
Volume 48 Number 4

A $10 million gift to the Wharton School from alumnus Al West Jr. creates a Learning Lab.
The Penn community gathers to remember the thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks.
The Penn community reaches out to help the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the Blood Drives.
Penn Police take extra precautions to secure the campus.
Counseling services for Penn faculty, staff and their families as well as group counseling through the EAP are provided free of charge.
Recovering from trauma, loss and disasters is complex, as explained in a booklet from CAPS. Emergency consultations are available.
The SAS Symposium on Responding to Terrorism includes the views of five Penn faculty members who discuss the various considerations of responding to the recent attacks.
A Penn student who expressed her views on WXPN shares them.
The 9th Annual Penn Family Day is set for October 20 with food, football, face painting and fun at the University Museum.