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Photo by Evan Krape September 11, 2017
Honor guards from city, University police, Army and Air Force ROTC participate
The University of Delaware and the City of Newark joined together Monday morning to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. with a small Patriot Day ceremony in Olan Thomas Park.
Honor guards from the Newark and UD police departments started the program with the presentation of colors, and honor guards from the University’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs closed it out with a flag-folding ceremony. The flag was then presented to the family of Delawarean Robert Fangman, who was a flight attendant on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center on 9/11.
UD Provost Domenico Grasso spoke on behalf of the University at the event, and reflected on his own memory of that day—riding in a cab on his way to the airport to fly to Washington D.C. for a meeting at the Pentagon at the same time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
“This incredible tragedy—which exposed the worst side of humanity—also highlighted the strength, selflessness and bravery of the American people,” he said. “This is a time for us to not only remember all who died and suffered because of that fateful day, but to exhibit the same bravery and selflessness in our own challenging times that would have made them proud.”
Grasso pointed out that today’s college first year-students were only 2 years old when the terrorist attacks occurred, too young to remember any of it themselves. Younger teens were not even born yet, said Newark Mayor Polly Sierer, as she emphasized the importance of Patriot Day as a way to help educate today’s children while also honoring and remembering the victims and heroes of that day.
“I’m so grateful to our community for coming together to honor the people we have lost,” she said.
Seirer also read a Patriot Day proclamation from the city, acknowledging the 9/11 first-responders and other heroes. She said it is important that “we honor people who responded with a commitment to serve.”
Grasso, an Army veteran, introduced UD student veteran Sgt. Stephen McGuire, who shared his personal 9/11 story at the event, explaining that he was in Huntington, West Virginia, for a make-up drill when he learned about the first attack on the World Trade Center. Shortly after the second plane hit, his Army reserve center got a call to lock down the facility, so McGuire spent the rest of the day guarding the entrance while trying to process the day’s events.
“The innocence of our nation was gone,” he said. “It was going to be left to us to bring it back. … To this day, I still can’t understand it.”
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