Never Forget: Campus community reflects on 9/11’s impact at powerful Day of Remembrance

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CSUSM hosted a virtual Day of Remembrance to commemorate the events of 9/11.

Jules Appleton, Staff Writer

To commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the CSUSM’s Veterans Services in coalition with the 9/11 Remembrance Project hosted a Day of Remembrance on Zoom.

Led by Veterans Services’ Communications and Outreach Manager Sin Kook, the event was the culmination of a Virtual Week of Service. Kook urged staff and students “to remember those who lost their lives, were injured or serve our country as a result of the attacks on September 11” by giving back to the community.

The 9/11 Remembrance Project was founded by a group of San Diego firefighters who went to Ground Zero to help serve the community, mostly by attending the funerals of those who were lost.

While the members of the 9/11 Remembrance Project could not make the call, Kook showed a video showing how the project displays artifacts and pictures from that day, such as a surviving fire hose and floor sign from one of the Twin Towers, so that people will “remember and educate themselves” about the first responders, firefighters and police officers that were lost on 9/11 and the days following.

Kook then created breakout rooms where people could share their individual stories about what happened on 9/11.

Veterans Services’ Technical Program Manager Josh Loop described his perspective from that day. “I was a sophomore in high school sitting in history class. I remember right in the middle of class, we were told there was something weird going on and teachers needed to turn on their TVs. Classes stopped and we just watched what was going on in New York,” he said.

Since the student members of the breakout group were either too young to remember or born after 2001, they shared what they previously knew about it.

Madlyn Francis described the horrific videos she had seen from that day. “I always remember the ash,” she said.

Loop, himself a veteran of the coast guard, said that if individuals within close proximity of the twin towers did not die from ash and asbestos inhalation, they have “persisting health problems” because of it.

The students then discussed how 9/11 still impacts the U.S. today.

18-year-old Leilani Gonzalez recalls learning about 9/11 from a young age and said she believes that “people should still be educated about [9/11],” because she was still able to “sympathize” with the devastation.

As for Kaitlyn Knox, her boyfriend joined the navy “to honor someone that he lost on 9/11.”

19 years later, this day clearly still impacts and affects American lives.

Kook ended the session with a call to action to serve the community, and not just around 9/11. “This day changed our country,” she said. “We should remember it each and every day.” 

Visit the CSUSM Veterans Services at csusm.edu/veterans/index.html.

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