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The University of Delaware Air Force ROTC joined other UD and community members in 2017 in honoring the lives of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and first responders who saved thousands of people.
The University of Delaware Air Force ROTC joined other UD and community members in 2017 in honoring the lives of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and first responders who saved thousands of people.

To honor and remember

Photo by Evan Krape

University community to observe 18th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks

The University of Delaware and the City of Newark will observe the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Wednesday, which is also known as Patriot Day and National Day of Service. 

Flags on UD campuses will be flown at half staff, and a sign display on The Green will honor the victims and heroes of 9/11. The signs are the idea of junior Jillian Donlon, whose father has been a New York City firefighter for more than 30 years.

“As the years go on, the sad truth is that people forget,” said Donlon, who worked with peers and Student Life staff to produce the signs. “I know there are many other students on this campus that feel the same ache on 9/11 when they are not home with their families. I hope that with this display, those students feel a small comfort. The country will never forget, and neither will UD.”

As in previous years, the University Carillon will chime in honor of the victims beginning at 8:46 a.m., which coincides with the time the first airliner hit one of the two towers at the World Trade Center in New York.

A joint UD-Newark ceremony commemorating 9/11 will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Olan Thomas Park at Paper Mill Road and Cleveland Avenue. The park includes a 9/11 memorial garden with a plaque and three trees native to the states where the attacks took place. 

The Honor Guard of the Newark and University of Delaware police departments will participate in the ceremony, along with members of the University’s Air Force and Army ROTCs. UD Executive Vice President John Long, who was an Air Force lieutenant colonel working at the Pentagon on 9/11, will share his memories of that day. Also participating in the ceremony are Air Force veterans Master Sgt. RJ Popio and Lt. Col. John Groth, the Rev. Nick Owens, and Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton.

The ceremony is open to the public. After the ceremony, attendees may volunteer to care for Olan Thomas Park and get information about volunteering with the city.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, killed a total of 2,977 people at the World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 fought with terrorists to regain control of the plane. Five UD alumni were killed in the attacks: Ronald Breitweiser ‘84; Peter C. Frank ‘93; Alan D. Kleinberg ‘83; John A. Larson ‘86; and Karl T. Smith ‘79.

The attacks also claimed the lives of many family members of the UD community, including Michael San Phillip, Brett Bailey, Robert Coll, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, Michael Bradley Finnegan, Jon Grabowski, Thomas P. Holohan, Jr., James Murphy, Rudy Mastrocinque, Scott Schertzer, Davis G. Sezna, Jr., Rich Stewart, and Brian G. Warner. Staff, faculty, students and alumni who lost family members because of the attacks may add to this list by sending an email to UD-Archives@udel.edu.

Many UD community members contributed thoughts and memories of the attacks on more than 4,000 ribbons near Memorial Hall in the days following the attacks, as well as on the UD Facebook page on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

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