Today on 180 Greenwich St. in New York City, rain gently trickles down the branches of a lone Callery pear tree. This resolute tree, located at the center of the Sept. 11 memorial, has become known as the “Survivor Tree” after it miraculously survived the collapse of both the Twin Towers at Ground Zero. Today, the tree serves as a symbol of the strength, survival and resilience shown by those involved that fateful morning.
Seventeen years ago today, the United States suffered an unimaginable act of violence. At 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later American Airlines flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. As two more planes were hijacked and crashed, it became clear that America was under attack.
The subsequent hours after the crashes were filled with countless acts of bravery, heroism and sacrifice. Firefighters and emergency teams worked tirelessly throughout the day to evacuate as many civilians as they could before the towers inevitably collapsed. Rescue teams continuously put the lives of others ahead of their own as they entered the towers to help more victims. As a result of this, 343 firefighters, 71 police officers and 55 military personnel lost their lives.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks shook the nation to its core. All around the country people are able to recall where they were and what they were doing when the Twin Towers were struck. For the families of the 2,977 Americans who lost their lives and the thousands more who were injured, the pain and horror of the attacks will never go away.
To honor all of the victims of 9/11, UConn has scheduled a variety of activities for students to participate in. These activities are meant to remember the victims who lost their lives, honor the sacrifices made by firefighters and other first responders, acknowledge the strength of the survivors and the families of the victims and recapture the sense of community that arose immediately following the tragedy.
The “UConn Remembers” activities begin with a Bell Ceremony at 8:40 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex in honor of the victims. At 8:46 a.m. the Dunham Carillon at Storrs Congregational Church will ring to mark the time that the first plane struck the World Trade Center. There will also be a “Field of Flags” present all day on Fairfield Way as a symbol of unity in the face of tragedy. All day at the Student Union, students can participate in the Wreath Ribbon Tying, which is symbolic of the four planes lost that day.
Ultimately, Sept. 11 was a day of immense grief and suffering throughout the nation. More importantly, however, it illustrated how strong the United States can be in the face of tragedy. People across the nation demonstrated massive amounts of courage, resilience and heroism during the recovery process. It is important to take a moment to remember the victims of this attack and those who put their lives on the line throughout the rescue process. A devastating tragedy like the 9/11 attack shows us that no matter what life throws at us, like the Callery pear tree, we will persevere.
Matthew Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.