The sound of a lone bugle playing taps echoed across the lawn on the Dickinson College campus Tuesday morning as the college’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps led a ceremony to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
“On Patriots’ Day, we pause to remember those that died in these tragedies while honoring their lives and sacrifice,” said senior Devin Pratt, as he welcomed those gathering for the ceremony.
Pratt was in kindergarten in New Hampshire on the morning of the attacks, but he clearly remembers his mother coming to school to pick him up early. She took him out for ice cream, and told him about the attacks as they had their snack.
“I didn’t really understand it at the time. I remember asking her if they were coming to get us,” he said.
Acknowledging that many coming along behind him at Dickinson have little memory, if any, of the event, Pratt said it’s important to continue to remember the attacks because they have played an important part in the lives of a lot of people, including those who chose to join the military after the attacks.
The ceremony started with a bugler played taps as the flag located on the John Dickinson campus between West and College streets was lowered to half-staff. After a moment of silence, the bell in nearby Denny Hall tolled three times in memory of the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 in the skies over Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Dickinson College President Margee Ensign then placed a red, white and blue wreath at the base of the flag pole while Asha Tran, a junior music major, sang “Amazing Grace.”
Rev. Donna Hughes, director of the Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice, concluded the ceremony with a prayer that recalled not only the violence and heartache of the day, but also the way people responded to the news.
“As we remember those who bravely responded and gave their lives to save others, may we draw strength from their selfless sacrifice,” she said.
For Hughes, memories of the attacks spark thoughts of the ways in which people who responded by helping others provided a vital lesson to take away from remembrance ceremonies.
“It’s important to be reminded of what kind of people we want to be and what kind of world we want to have,” she said.