Thursday, September 15, 2011
Members of the Rider family, as well as many from the surrounding area, gathered on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to pay homage to the victims and heroes lost that day in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., including eight Rider and Westminster Choir College alumni.
The mood was somber yet proud as students, faculty, staff and community leaders lined the perimeter of Kaplan Plaza, where they were joined by members of the Army National Guard, the Lawrence Township Police Department and firefighters from the Lawrence Road Fire Co., the Lawrenceville Fire Co., and the Slackwood Fire Co., all of Lawrence Township, for the midday 9/11 Peaceful Tomorrows ceremony.
Westminster Choir College SGA President Anna Friars ’12 presented a student’s perspective on 9/11 and its aftermath, explaining how she found inspiration not in poems or blogs, but in the words of comedian and Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
“He explained that the view from his apartment in New York City was of the World Trade Center, but following the attacks, he then looked outside to see the Statue of Liberty,” Friars related. “To me, this sums up absolutely everything. Life was unfair that day, but the terrorists gave us a better view of what America really stands for – freedom and liberty.”
Former Rider President Bart Luedeke, who was still two years from retirement on September 11, 2001, recalled there were some 300 students who were unable to reach certain family members for many hours, or even days, to verify their well-being. In the end, however, many of the same students rallied to look after one another.
“That night, it was eerily quiet, and as I visited the residence halls, I saw the way students were taking care of each other, and I decided that it was best if I just got out of their way,” Luedeke explained. “Evil will have its day – and sometimes it’s profound – but it also inspires a greater sense of humanity.”
The Rev. Dawn Adamy, chaplain of Rider’s Protestant Campus Ministry, recalled some of the eight Rider alumni who perished in the attacks, urging the Rider community to recall the fabric of the lives they led, and not merely their deaths.
“It matters for us that these members of Rider’s community invested in people; they invested in life,” Adamy said. “They loved and were loved. They were not just names on granite memorials.”
At the end of Adamy’s remarks, those eight names were recited, with a bell chiming once for each person lost. A laying of wreaths followed, with President Mordechai Rozanski and Anthony Campbell, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Lawrence Police; Lawrence Fire Department; and Greg Puliti, mayor of Lawrence Township, all participating.
After a pipe and drum corps honored the 343 firefighters who died in action on 9/11, four Westminster Choir College students closed the remembrance ceremony with a touching rendition of Peter Christian Lutkin’s choral benediction, The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
Rider University Remembers:
Mary Yolanda Dowling ’81
Lawrenceville Campus, College of Continuing Studies
Gary Lutnick ’87
Domenick “Mosh” Mircovich ’83
Ferdinand “Fred” Morrone ’77
Thomas Regan ’80
Alison Wildman ’93
Kenneth Zelman ’86