More than 100 members of the GW community gathered in Kogan Plaza Saturday evening to remember the nine GW alumni who lost their lives nine years ago in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The mood was somber as speakers including University President Steven Knapp, Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell and Student Association President Jason Lifton emphasized the importance of honoring the 9/11 victims and of continuing GW’s commitment to serving the community.
The vigil was GW’s ninth annual remembrance ceremony. The first was held Sept. 12, 2001, the day following the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
“We have come together to add remembrance to service and to close the day with a kind of quiet reflection that marked that first vigil nine years ago,” Knapp said.
Darnell spoke about how he worked with first responders after the 9/11 attacks to improve security and response measures.
“As we gather here today, I’m proud to say to my fallen colleagues, to all that lost their lives, to you and to their families, our work was not in vain,” Darnell said.
He added, “Whether we knew them or not or whether they were first responders or ordinary citizens, they were all innocent victims of a senseless act.”
Lifton reflected on the reaction of the community in his hometown of Long Island, N.Y., during the days following the attacks.
“I remember going to buy an American flag with my dad and having to search for two hours to find a store that wasn’t sold out,” Lifton said. “Everyone wanted to display their American pride.”
After the speeches, one candle was lit for each of the nine alumni who passed away. GW’s gospel choir, The Voice, sang a few songs before a silence settled over the crowd.
Students at the event said they attended the ceremony as a way to remember the attacks.
“I wanted to come and recognize those that were lost and be part of the community here,” said junior Scott Backer.