College Plans Events To Honor Memory of September 11 Terrorist Attacks

UPDATE: 3:47 a.m. on Sept. 6, 2011

The 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks this Sunday will see a number of commemorative events across the University, including a College-wide vigil, according to an email sent to all undergraduates from the Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds last week.

“You are all part of a generation that has come of age in the wake of 9/11,” wrote Hammonds in the email. “[The vigil] will be an opportunity for you to join with fellow students to reflect on the attacks, their legacy, and their meaning.”

The evening event will feature Hammonds and Lowell House Masters Dorothy A. Austin and Diana L. Eck, as well as Elizabeth R. Moroney ’12-’13,  whose father worked in the World Trade Center and passed away, and a member of the Harvard Islamic Society, according to College spokesperson Jeff Neal.

Moroney, who will share her personal reflections on the event, said she felt the vigil will be an opportunity to give students insight on how a tragedy can affect a family.

The event was planned by the Office of Student Life, with input from many students, including student leaders at the Interfaith Council, Neal said.

In addition to the College-sponsored vigil, Hammonds highlighted a variety of other 9/11-related events that will occur leading up to and throughout the day.

The Memorial Church and Lowell House bells will toll on Sunday at 8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:06 a.m.—the exact times that planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Penn on the morning of 9/11.

The Lowell House Society of Russian Bell Ringers at Harvard College, who traditionally ring the House bells on Sunday afternoons, will ring the 13-ton blagovest bell named Mother Earth ten times at each of the designated times on Sunday morning, according to Inna Ryzhik ’12 and Ivan D. Bochkov ’12, co-presidents of the Bell Ringers.

Since the Lowell House bells cannot be heard at Memorial Church, and vice versa, the ringing of the bells at both locations will allow the commemoration to be a campus-wide event, Bochkov said.

In addition, the Bell Ringers will be using their traditional 1 p.m. concert time to further commemorate the national tragedy. This Sunday, unlike most Sundays, the Bell Ringers will do only the traditional ringing of the Russian peals, reflecting the solemnity of the occasion, Ryzhik said.

And at 11 a.m., Kennedy School of Government Public Service Professor David R. Gergen will lead a Sunday service at Memorial Church that he said will focus on reflecting “back to the day’s memory.”

Gergen said he has been studying sermons by the late Reverend Peter J. Gomes in the aftermath of 9/11, in an attempt to pass along the wisdom of Gomes, who Gergen said served as a “social guide to a great many people on campus during that period.” The title of Gergen’s sermon bears the same name as Gomes’ first sermon after 9/11: “Outer Turmoil, Inner Strength.”

He added that the sermon focuses not only on the day of 9/11, but also about the 10 years that have passed since the tragedy.

“It’s a time to reflect on ... what the Scriptures tell us about how to relate to the events of that day and what’s come since,” Gergen said.

Other events that day include a University-sponsored commemorative performance at Sanders Theatre and an interfaith discussion hosted by the Harvard Chaplains.

—Hana N. Rouse contributed reporting to this article.

—Staff writer Monika L. S. Robbins can be reached at mrobbins@college.harvard.edu.

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