Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
This year is the first time since that Ohio State has been in session on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the university did not plan an event in commemoration. But one group of students did.
Five executive officers of the Ohio State Security and Intelligence Club planned OSU Remembers 9/11.
“We felt like it was something that needed to be done,” said Emily Wiegand, a second-year in history and Security and Intelligence Club officer. “It is a way to give the entire university a chance to reflect on the events that occurred 11 years ago – to honor the many heroes who made great sacrifices that day, and days since.”
The event was held Tuesday evening at the Browning Amphitheatre.
Peter Mansoor, former executive officer to CIA director General David Petraeus and professor in the Department of History, spoke about the importance of remembering and recognizing veterans and active armed forces members.
“Our nation is only as strong as the heroism of those who have served in its defense,” he said.
Mansoor said it is important for everyone to take time to recognize and remember veterans, active service members and their families.
Steve Ebersole, former commander of American Legion Post 276 and Vietnam War veteran, spoke on the importance of remembering the tragic events of 9/11.
“I fear Sept. 11 is fading in our minds,” Ebersole said. “We all can do our part by remembering 9/11.”
The Women’s Glee Club sang “Carmen Ohio,” following a moment of silence to close the ceremony.
Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp reflected on his memory of Sept. 11, 2001. Though everyone’s experience that day was different, he said, no one has forgotten what he or she was doing.
Brian Chessin, a first-year in exploration, said his uncle was in the World Trade Center when it was attacked and survived.
“I was in second grade and had no idea what was going on,” Chessin said.
Chessin said he attended the event because, “it is always important to remember the past and remember who is fighting today.”
The event was advertised through a Facebook group. About 2,000 students were listed on the event page as invited and more than 500 were listed as attending. The Browning Amphitheatre has a capacity of 300 people and was not completely filled.
Sam Kastan, a first-year in economics, said he found out about the event because he was invited on Facebook.
“Someone sent something to me. I’m really happy they did,” Kastan said.
Remembering such a tragic event helps give him perspective, Kastan said.
“I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I remember exactly where I was (on 9/11),” he said.
In a Monday interview with The Lantern, OSU President E. Gordon Gee said he could recall details from that day as well.
“I remember that so vividly,” Gee said. “I remember exactly where I was. I was at Vanderbilt (University) at the time, I was giving a speech and someone came up and said the Twin Towers had been attacked and I went back to the campus immediately.”
Alex Polivka, a third-year student in international studies and Security and Intelligence Club officer called planning the event was “a community effort.”
“No one (at Ohio State) was planning anything for 9/11,” Polivka said, “so we kind of took it upon ourselves to organize this whole thing.”
Polivka said he was disappointed that OSU did not have an event planned to commemorate the day. He said people are more focused on the economy and have lost sight of remembering this national tragedy.
“It reflects where we are as a nation,” Polivka said.
Gee and football coach Urban Meyer declined the Security and Intelligence Club’s invitations to speak at the event.
The Security and Intelligence Club officers began planning the event on Sept. 1, he said, giving them more than a week for preparation.
“There are a lot of different bureaucratic loops and holes you have to jump through in doing an event like this,” Polivka said. He had anticipated the process being easier than it was.
“It came together really nicely regardless,” Polivka said, and their effort in putting together the event was definitely worth it.