‘We have been no stranger to loss and uncertainty:’ University of Dayton remembers 9/11

Many University of Dayton undergraduate students were not alive on Sept. 11, 2001, but the Student Government Association at UD held a memorial Friday marking the 20th anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,996 people.

About 50 people, including ROTC members, students and university staff, were at the event. ROTC placed flags on the Central Mall, which will remain up until Sunday, SGA said.

SGA president Drew Moyer said that while he doesn’t remember the Sept. 11 attacks personally, the event forever changed history.

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“Since 911, we have been no stranger to loss and uncertainty, especially in the midst of this pandemic, and it’s time that seems to have no end, or when we have feelings of vulnerability, we as a country become stronger,” Moyer said. “We push through and come out as a more unified community.”

Lt. Col. Matt Clementz, chair of military science at UD, recalled the events as a life-changing moment for him and his wife, who had just gotten married. He deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq, according to the university.

“The moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center we do that we had witnessed the defining moment for our generation,” Clementz said.

Sam Surowitz, director of Military and Veteran Programs and Services at UD, recalled calling his father, an FBI agent in New York City, and watching the fires from across the bay in New Jersey. He was in middle school when the attacks happened.

“There are no words that can bring solace for the lives cut short, the memories never made, the marriages never had and the children never born,” Surowitz said. “But we will always remember the lives of those who died in the tragedy that day 20 years ago, and honor their memories.”

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UD president Eric Spina recalled the beautiful sky on the day of Sept. 11, 2001, and said remembering the people who died at the site is important.

“That is our duty today. It’s our duty tomorrow, and it’s our duty every day, going forward,” he said. “Remembrance is important.”

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