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,”
“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.