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HPU unites in Sept. 11 rememberance

by Reenie Young, Opinion editor

On the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, HPU hosted a forum called 9/11 Global Remembrance at the downtown campus. Hundreds of students, along with faculty and teachers, took part in prayer, shed some tears, and reflected back one year to the tragic events that changed our lives.

Opening the service was Chaplain Rev. Dale Burke. He spoke words of remembrance, prayer, and encouragement for the future. Burke also praised HPU’s diverse cultures as an example of “a model community of people from around the world.” “We gather today to focus and on that which unites us, where we could find our strength and hope as we now continue to move into the future,” said Burke.

“We remember the victims who perished – they were also from all over the world – and that’s why this affects us all. We also remember the resiliency of the human spirit, because it is often that out of terrific tragic circumstances emerge great courage and compassion.” Burke then bowed his head and prayed for God’s guidance “to lead all of us now to a more peaceful nation, to help us find hope, and to help us learn about each other.” In the background, HPU’s International Ensemble Choir sang Lord Hear My Prayer.

The next speaker was Nancy Ellis, standing in for President Chad Wright who was unable to attend the forum. Ellis read Wright’s speech, which commenmorated and honored the victims, heroes, and their families of 9/11.

The speech also focused on why HPU’s culturally diverse students are so important, today, now more than ever. “We look forward with hope, and so we focus on the theme of global harmony and unity, a theme very much alive and well at HPU. As you know, we have students from 107 different countries represented at the university, the greatest diversity of any college or University in Hawai‘i,” said Ellis. “Each of these students brings their own culture from around the world to our campus to perform an exciting blend and cultures, languages, dress,and philosophy. This blend is evident everyday on campus,” said Ellis.

“Why is this important? And how does it relate to today’s theme of global harmony and unity? The link is, we daily demonstrate the ability of students from around the world to lay aside their political differences and work side by side in the classrooms to achieve their academic goal.”

Representing HPU’s faculty was Patrice Wilson. Her poem, Mourning, described how she felt during and after Sept.11. Representing the student body were speakers Collette Kuutz, ASHPU’s president 2002-2003; Selawe Tau, outgoing president;and Elin Thormodsen, president for the graduate student organization. Each spoke words of encouragement, telling of changes that each student can make here, in school, and in the global world.

A day of commemoration was necessary. It was important that we remember those who died, that we remember to have hope for the future, to love those around us, to respect our differences, and most importantly, to learn to live in peace.



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