(Tahlequah, Okla.)—Americans chose different ways to remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. Some attended services or took part in ceremonies and others perhaps reflected among family or privately.
At the campuses of Northeastern State University nearly 400 students and volunteers participated in projects as part of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
“We worked with the Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce and picked up trash on the bypasses,” said Kathleen Kennedy, director of campus involvement for the Office of Student Activities. “The Broken Arrow volunteers conducted a litter cleanup along New Orleans Street. On the Tahlequah campus we cleaned weeds out of flowerbeds and shrubbery, put down mulch and removed litter. We also had a group make cards to take to local nursing homes.”
The service projects were organized by NSU Student Affairs and the Northeastern Student Government Association.
Before departing, volunteers met in the University Center Sen. Herb Rozell Ballroom in Tahlequah and outside the Business and Technology building in Broken Arrow.
A ceremony was held in the ballroom in which the volunteers were addressed by speakers, including Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols and Dr. Laura Boren, dean of student affairs. After a moment of silence a flag salute was conducted, followed by a discussion about the significance of 9/11. Volunteers were encouraged to honor the name of a victim or first responder of 9/11, and those names were announced.
Christie Fullerton, Colcord junior and NSGA treasurer, said she was impressed by the turnout for the event.
“Because this fell on a Sunday, we weren’t sure how many participants we would have,” she said. “We knew many students would go home to be with family and observe the anniversary in other ways, but a lot of people decided to commemorate the anniversary by helping the community.”
As an NSU student, Fullerton counts herself a citizen of Tahlequah and decided to help organize the Day of Service as a way to express her appreciation to the city.
“Volunteer opportunities are essential because they connect you to a community,” she said. “Tahlequah accommodates us and gives us a place to live and get an education. The city invests in us and it is important that we invest in the city.”
NSU has many non-traditional students, so volunteers of different ages participated in the event. Fullerton said she understood if older generations wonder what effect 9/11 had on today’s traditional college students, who were children at the time.
“I was 11 and in fifth grade when 9/11 happened,” she said. “What changed about me that day was I became much more aware of the wider world. That is probably what any traditional college student will tell you today. I also think anyone of any age can look back on their childhood and pinpoint an event which had much the same effect.”
She further explained that in the subsequent decade, her generation has made its sacrifices coming of age in wartime.
“Remembering 9/11 is important to us because we still see the effects of it today.” she said. “We still see our classmates, friends, brothers and sisters go off to join the services. We’re afraid and feel for them. We respect and honor them. That is significant to all of us no matter our ages.”
Published: 9/13/2011 9:09:06 AM