One for each victim (10 photos)Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Lake Superior State University (LSSU) President Dr. Tony McLain presided over Wednesday’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in front of Lake State’s Brady Hall.
Both McLain and LSSU’s Vice-President for Student Affairs, Ken Peress, delivered speeches which touched on the world-changing impact made by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, while also offering words of inspiration and guidance to a large group of Lake State students in attendance.
A U.S. Coast Guard honor guard, along with members of the National Guard, American Legion and LSSU EMS/Criminal Justice students took part in the ceremony, which included the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner, a wreath-laying and a minute of silence.
2,973 miniature U.S. flags, one for every person killed in the attacks, lined the area in front of Brady Hall.
Lake State’s Associate Director of Campus Life Sharmay Wood told SooToday.com the placing of the flags on a rain-soaked lawn in front of Brady Hall was performed late Tuesday night by 53 people, including students, Campus Life staff and the entire Lake State men’s basketball team.
Wood told us Lake State officials are considering the placement of 24 miniature Canadian flags for next year’s ceremony, to remember the number of Canadians who lost their lives September 11, 2001.
“A large portion of our student population is Canadian, so we would include that exact number of flags. That’s what we’re leaning toward,” Wood said.
LSSU has placed a miniature U.S. flag on campus for each 9/11 victim at 9/11 ceremonies since the 10-year anniversary ceremony in 2011.
The September 11, 2001 attacks led to the War on Terror, and by spring 2003, U.S.-led military campaigns to root out terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq were underway.
158 Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.
Reflecting thoughtfully on the controversy those campaigns generated, and in view of the current debate over a possible U.S. military strike on Syria, Peress told SooToday.com: “I think there have been times in our history when we have gone a little too quickly, and we’ve seen the results of that.”
“One of the most important skills we try to impart on our students is the ability to analyze and think critically.”
Peress added: “When these students get to positions of leadership, it’s my hope they’ll use that and take a deep breath, look at a situation carefully and decide what action is appropriate based on analysis, and not just a knee-jerk reaction.”
Another result of the 9/11 attacks was the dramatic escalation of domestic safety measures designed to defend against more terrorist attacks.
Commenting on that aspect of 9/11’s impact, Dr. McLain told us: “Many of our students who are entering campus this year were only in Kindergarten at the time 9/11 occurred, and it’s really important for them to recognize what 9/11 meant, what it meant to our nation and how it changed the way we operate.”
“We have definitely changed into defensive mode.”
McLain said the longer wait times at sites such as the International Bridge represent the “down side” of heightened security consciousness, but added: “those that serve in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Navy SEALs, military personnel from America, Canada and many other nations have made our world a safer place.”
“They deserve our thanks,” McLain said.