Lack of remembrance shameful
Letter to the Editor | Sunday, September 13, 2009
On Friday, the Notre Dame community awoke to a day like any another. If we looked closely, however, we would have observed the flag at half-mast – the only truly public tribute on campus to the September 11 attacks that occurred eight years ago. Shamefully, Notre Dame, like most of the country, seems to have forgotten the event that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people
As a native New Yorker, the 9/11 attacks probably affected me more than others. My dad, now a retired NYPD lieutenant, was one of the many called down to work at Ground Zero and suffered a relatively serious eye injury from the clouds of dust and debris that enveloped the area. In the wake of the attacks he also performed the heartbreaking task of sifting through the wreckage for body parts at Staten Island.
I must confess, as an American and a Catholic, to being very disappointed with Notre Dame’s lack of tribute to the 9/11 attacks. For an institution that places “country” second only to God in the hierarchy of importance, I was shocked at the dearth of both memorial services and publicity for the few that were held. Granted, for most of the country 9/11 is also a thing of the past. Friday morning I turned on the news only to witness a breathtaking discussion of health care. Notre Dame is supposed to be different. As one of the premier Catholic universities in the world, I would think that we would be deeply in tune to remembering a day where hatred led to the taking of life – God’s most precious gift. I would think that on that day, we might invoke the memory of Father Judge, the FDNY chaplain who died while giving Last Rites, as a model of self-sacrifice and compassion. I would think that we might publicly thank the members of our ROTC program, where so many students are training to serve and protect our country. On Friday I saw none of these things.
Forgiveness and the ability to move on past tragedy are important. Remem-brance, however, is a duty – one that Notre Dame obviously has failed to perform.