The Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life held an Interfaith Service Sunday to honor those who died during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers 15 years ago. The service started with music, multi-faith prayers and reflections led by Muslim Life coordinator Imam Shane Atkinson, Reverend Adam Shoemaker of Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, Associate Chaplain of Protestant Life Reverend Dr. Joel Harter and Associate Chaplain of Jewish Life Rabbi Meir Goldstein.
"We just felt like it was the right thing to do," said university chaplain Jan Fuller when asked about the fifteenth anniversary service. "We thought that at fifteen years, [this] is a milestone. And we've lived through this for like most of your [lives]. We have so many students from the areas most affected."
The Class of 2017 were only six years old when the attacks happened in 2001, but it's still a day that will be remembered forever. This year also marks the first time current high school freshmen will be taught about 9/11 without having lived through it.
Junior Spencer Wagner attended the service in an effort to be part of the greater Elon community.
"We bring different aspects to the Elon University community in general, but this is one of those things that we can really come together and unite behind family [members] that we might have lost, and be together in a time of remembrance," Wagner said.
Fuller ended the service by calling on all attendants to make a pledge about how they hope to affect the world in a positive way.
SGA also joined in remembering those lives lost by placing hundreds of American and international flags on the cross walks of Young Commons. Students could purchase the flags in the days leading up to 9/11, and the funds will be donated to 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
"Students asked [SGA] what we could be doing to recognize those who had been lost as we continue to have more students come here and growing up in the shadow of 9/11," Wagner said. The flags – and the donation to the memorial – were the response.
The tradition was begun three years ago, and has recently been expanded to add international flags in order to represent all international lives, nationally and internationally, that were also lost.
"We believe that's a good representation, especially with the international flags now, of the Americans and all the people all around the world who were lost," said Wagner, who organized the flag donations. "It's a way to kind of commemorate the day."
The flags will be on Young Commons until Monday evening to allow every student a chance to see them and remember.