Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Tree-Planting Memorializes 9/11 Victims

Hoya Staff Writer Tuesday, September 12, 2006 Lindsay Anderson/The Hoya Students, faculty and other members of the university community gathered on Healy Lawn yesterday and planted a tree to commemorate the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. The event included the reading of the names of victims who had a connection to Georgetown.

Over 100 people gathered under a cloudy sky on Healy Lawn yesterday for the dedication of a new tree meant to commemorate the dozens of members of the Georgetown community who died during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Students and faculty cried and comforted each other during the event, marking the fifth anniversary of 9/11, as Campus Ministry officials led prayers and described their experiences on that day. “I remember five years ago, watching the TV when those planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I felt them as if they crashed into my soul,” Imam Yahya Hendi, the university’s Muslim chaplain, said during the ceremony. “I remember the tears on my face then, telling my wife, `I believe this will change the course of history.'” Yesterday marked one of the largest gatherings in remembrance of the terrorist attacks since 2001, when students massed on the Village A rooftops to watch smoke billowing from the damaged Pentagon. The attacks prompted a series of vigils and memorials on campus to support the victims of Sept. 11, several of whom either worked at Georgetown or had friends or relatives on campus. Fr. Philip Boroughs, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, said that the newly planted tree near Lauinger Library would symbolize the growth of the university community since the attacks and its hope for the future. “We gather this afternoon to pray and to plant a tree. On one level our action may seem to be of very little significance,” Boroughs said. Boroughs asserted that, on another level, many look to the future, to a point decades away when people of different faiths will be able to gather peacefully beneath the tree. “They will find in their religious and philosophical differences a reason to learn from each other,” Boroughs said. Six members of the GUSA Interfaith Council read the names of more than 50 people killed in the attacks, including members of the university community and friends or family of current Georgetown students, faculty and staff. Campus Ministry staff also read from the Bible and held a moment of silence for attendees to pray. After a group prayer concluded the ceremony, the crowd approached the tree, some touching the tree, kissing its leaves or crossing their hearts. Some people left in tears, visibly shaken as friends and family tried to console them. Hafsa Kanjwal (SFS ’08), a member of the GUSA Interfaith Council who helped read the list of victims, said she was touched by the ceremony. “I think obviously it’s such a large event. This day is so important that it needs to be commemorated,” Kanjwal said. Hendi closed his prayer by citing what he said were the lessons of Sept. 11. “May our eyes remain open even in the face of tragedy. May we not become disheartened,” he said. “May we realize that there is no wall love cannot tear down. May we remember there is no hate that love cannot overcome.” Yesterday’s service followed a 9/11 Unity Walk on Embassy Row on Sunday, in which many Georgetown students and staff, including Boroughs, participated.

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