The SMU Police Department and first responders from the surrounding community will commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a solemn ceremony honoring the police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
University police officers, along with members of the Highland Park and University Park Police and Fire Departments, will participate in a combined honor guard and bell ceremony for the fallen. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at the flagpole on the Main Quad. The event is free and open to the public.
To symbolize the first responders’ devotion to duty, the bell ceremony includes a special signal of three rings, three times each, representing the end of duty and a return to quarters. The signals ring out that “those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done … are going home.”
The remembrance will also feature remarks from SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Police Chief Rick Shafer and a benediction by University Chaplain Stephen Rankin, as well as bagpipe performances of “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”
“We welcome the community to come and help us remember those who gave their lives while protecting those they served,” said Chief Shafer.
The remembrance ceremony is one of several opportunities for campus community members, both in-person and virtual, to reflect on and remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001:
The George W. Bush Presidential Center houses the permanent exhibit A Nation Under Attack, with artifacts including steel from the World Trade Center, the bullhorn President Bush used to address the crowd at Ground Zero, and letters he received in the days following the attacks.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, SMU will host a range of public events Sept. 7-11 to help the community find peace and meaning after that devastating day.
“Only by bringing our thoughts, feelings, prejudices and knowledge to the forefront can we resist those who would manipulate us,” says Rita Kirk, director of SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, overall sponsor of the events. “How we remember the events of that day is an important ethical choice.”
Kirk will moderate the panel discussion for “The Day the Whole World Watched” on Sunday, Sept. 11.
“What happened on 9/11 was horrific, but that doesn’t get us any closer to making a better world. We have to commit ourselves to making it happen,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, which will host the “Ending the Cycles of Violence” discussion on Friday, Sept. 9. “This demands peoples’ awareness and involvement in creating a new narrative based on respect, dignity, manners, tolerance and healing.”
Community members are invited to add their thoughts and memories to the Maguire Center’s online journal, 911remembered.org, where they can also scroll through entries from SMU’s original set of remembrance journals created on Sept. 11, 2001.
The killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces over the weekend has prompted reflection and reassessment on personal, political, ethical and historical levels. SMU experts – including a student Iraq War veteran and an undergraduate whose father died in the 9/11 attacks – provide insight into the meaning of bin Laden’s death, public reaction and America’s relationship with the Middle East. Read their thoughts at the SMU News website.