Though 13 years have passed, Yale continues to remember.
At 8:30 a.m., over 100 members of the Yale community gathered at Beinecke Plaza to pay tribute to those who perished in the September 11 attacks. The event was organized through the Yale Student Veterans Council, in conjunction with Yale ROTC, and included a guest speaker, a reading of names and a moment of silence. Though over a decade since the attacks, emotions remained fresh as students, faculty, and alumni grieved for lost loved ones and fellow countrymen – including at least nine Yale alumni killed on this day.
“We are reaching a point in 9/11 history where a large percentage of people won’t remember [the events],” said J.J. Wilson SOM ’15, who served in the Special Forces as a Green Beret following the 2001 attacks. “I am terrified that the lives of my children will be shaped by a conflict we had no intent to join at all.”
The ceremony began by a brief address by Chris Harnisch SOM GRD ’15, president of Yale Student Veterans Council, who thanked participating students, faculty and members of the administration. He then introduced Wilson as the ceremony’s invited speaker, citing his branch of service as the embodiment of selflessness.
Wilson recalled how on September 11, 2001, he was not so unlike some members standing before him in the crowd today. He was starting his sophomore fall semester at Cornell when he distinctly remembers getting a call with the news.
“I remember the world would not be the same. The world was fundamentally changed,” he said. “But I didn’t know the breadth of change yet.”
To give further context, Wilson noted how in 2001, Mark Zuckerberg was still a senior in high school and Facebook perhaps nothing more than idea. Even the iPhone was a half decade away from being launched.
Everything–from new movies to new books, to gay marriage to the first black president–has taken place in light of this event, Wilson said.
Following his address, Harnisch recalled the 3,000 people who died in the attacks and noted that at least nine were Yale alumni. He singled out two individuals–Stacy Sanders ’98 and Bradley Hoorn ’01–both new employees working in the Twin Towers on the fateful day.
Harnisch noted these nine Yale alumni may have been taught by the same professors and may have walked the same halls. It’s important to never forget that these heroes who perished had real lives and real families, he added.
Nine students from across the University standing solemnly alongside the memorial cenotaph then approached the microphone to read a name of a fallen Yale alumni–David Berray ’84, David Berry ’80, Bennett Fisher ’66, Elizabeth M. Gregg GRD ’77, Bradley Hoorn ’01, Richard Lee ’91, Charles McCrann LAW ’72, Christopher Murphy ’88 and Stacey Sanders ’98. At exactly 46 minutes after 8 a.m.–the moment the first tower was struck–those in attendance bowed their heads for a moment of silence.
The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag to half mast, as a bugle blared “Taps” through the weighted silence.
Most members of the Class of 2018 were in kindergarten on September 11th, 2001.
The names of nine Yale alums who were victims that day are listed here:
Stacey Sanders ’98
Charles McCrann LAW ’72
Richard Lee ’91
Bradley Hoorn ’01
Elizabeth M. Gregg GRD ’77
David Berray ’84
Christopher Murphy ’88
David Berry ’80
Bennett Fisher ’66