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HPU ceremony commemorates 9-11
by Crystal Silva, Etcetera editor

One year after the day that changed America, HPU students, faculty, and community members gathered at upper Fort Street Mall to join the rest of the nation, to mourn and remember the events of 9/11/2001.

Students and organization associated with the spirit of HPU—the Dance and Cheerleading teams, as well as the Spirit Club—turned out in full force, and assisted in the handing out of programs, stickers, and ribbons, in the school colors, to those in attendance.

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Serving as Master of Ceremonies, University Chaplain Dale Burke opened by reminding us that the tragedy was not just an American experience, but the whole world’s. He held that HPU is a model community with people from 107 countries. Continuing in prayer, Reverend Burke asked for compassion, what separates us from terrorists, and encouraged us to learn from each other, that we may be “bridge builders for a more peaceful future.” The HPU International Vocal Ensemble and Chorale Sang quietly in the background, setting a solemn, peaceful mood across the crowd, while Reverend Burke prayed.

University President Chatt G. Wright was unable to attend, but Nancy Ellis, vice president of Student Support Services delivered his address. President Wright’s speech urged students to look back to commemorate and honor what was lost, but also to look forward with hope. Writing instructor Patrice Wilson read a poem, “Mourning”, that she wrote just a week after the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City.

Students were represented by ASHPU President Collette Kuntz, who gave a short address, as did former ASHPU President Selawe Tau and GSO President Elin Thormodsen. Tau, A Botswana native who was ASHPU President when the attacks occurred, delivered a powerful thought when he said, “We are a student body that comes from different worlds . . . I see my colleagues, I see my friends. Regardless of where we are from . . . today we are New Yorkers.”

A moment of silence was observed, as Reverend Burke urged everyone to join hands in unity. The closing prayer asked for the Holy Spirit to come, to bring peace on Earth, and many joined the HPU International Vocal Ensemble and Chorale in singing “Let There Be Peace.”

The ceremony ended with many hugging and wiping away tears. Everyone there left feeling closer to each other and strengthened by the unity that the ceremony had brought. “I have never felt more American,” said freshman Joshua Park. “Not even last September 11.”



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