A group of 20 students, faculty and veterans of the United States military joined together Wednesday to condemn acts of terror across the world and mourned those lost in the March 22 bombings in Brussels.
Among those killed in Brussels was the wife of a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
Sam Surowitz, an eighth-semester history major, veteran of the U.S. Army and president of the Veteran Student Organization, led the group, carrying the flag of Belgium, from Fairfield Way to the Ultimate Sacrifice memorial in front of UConn’s Wilbur Cross building.
There have been more than 250 terrorist attacks in 2016, Surowitz said, addressing the group, and it is time that people have “honest conversations” about terrorism.
“We had a march just like this one last semester, after the attacks in Paris… it is a consistent theme,” he said. “We should not have to keep doing marches like this.”
Surowitz said that it is important that people not become numb or apathetic toward all acts of terror regardless of where they occur.
“It can take something closer to home to realize that there are ongoing issues,” he said. “While it is true that the vast majority of these attacks are carried out by Muslim jihadists, we must avoid bigotry… it is important that we realize that Muslims are the victims of more attacks around the world than any other group.”
Ben Nobles, a junior at UConn and veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said college students often forget that there is a world beyond the campus.
“College can be a bubble,” Nobles said. “There are a lot larger problems internationally, like terrorism, that we can discuss and potentially, one day, solve.”
Surowitz said open and honest discussions are the solution to ignorance.
“To create a better future, it it will take compassionate, thoughtful and determined people of all backgrounds working together to make a better world,” Surowitz said.
Those in attendance observed a one-minute moment of silence in honor of those who died in the Brussels attacks.
“For me, I feel like this is about combatting fear and standing together against those who want us to be afraid,” Nobles said.
“This march is about solidarity in the face of terror,” he said.
Jon Hull is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.