Vigil offers chance for personal reflection
Published: Monday, September 16, 2002
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
On the one-year anniversary of September 11, Boston College students attended a candlelight vigil in memorial of those lost in the terrorist attacks that day. Despite the prevailing winds and chilly night air, there was a large turnout for the vigil held on O’Neill Plaza.
Just before 8 p.m., BC students flooded the plaza to pay their respects and mourn those who passed away. One such student, John Weinberger, LSOE ’06, said he was attending the ceremony to honor the memory of his friend’s father, a volunteer firefighter for the FDNY.
It was a cold, blustery evening, and so the candlelight vigil became simply a memorial vigil. Rev. James Erps, SJ, director of campus ministry, opened the ceremony with a chuckle and said, “God had other plans than a candlelight vigil.” Although the weather was not conducive to the use of candles, the BC community joined together to commemorate the horrible attacks on our nation one year ago.
Erps invited the audience members to reflect on what September 11 means to them in a moment of silence. He then requested that the audience join hands to pray for all those who died, including members of the BC community, firefighters, police officers, and other uniformed personnel. Those in attendance also prayed for the passengers on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania who saved the lives of so many more with their bravery, and the many heroes who focused on the well-being of others rather than their own.
Erps noted one member of the BC community in particular who reentered the World Trade Center after he had already escaped to help others, but unfortunately did not make it out a second time. Erps ended the vigil by requesting that members of the audience shout out the names of their own loved ones whose lives were not spared, and an overwhelming response ensued.
BC further honored the anniversary with a Wall of Remembrance located on O’Neill Plaza. Students, faculty, and staff were invited to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy, and the wall is now adorned with emotional reactions expressing love and sorrow for family members, friends, and even strangers.
“To those who died, we will never forget,” read one quote. “In your memory, we carry on, defiant, proud, and ever committed to freedom, which will never perish from the Earth. God rest your souls, and God Bless America.”
In addition to the candles, red, white, and blue ribbons were passed out at the vigil.
When asked about what inspired him to create this opportunity of remembrance on the Boston College campus, Adam Baker, UGBC president and A&S ’03, said that he and Sumit Mallick, chief of multicultural issues and A&S ’05, have been planning the UGBC’s Week of Remembrance for several months. They consulted with a representative from the White House in planning the events, said Baker. Mallick added that they also conferred with every department on campus, eventually electing a candlelight vigil as “the most poignant and appropriate” means of remembrance.
Baker also noted that the noontime ceremony was meant to be a community activity, while the candlelight vigil offered students the opportunity for a more personal and introspective reflection.