The Undergraduate Student Government held a memorial last week to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The event was held in the Plaza on Monday, Sept. 12, and it was led by Daniel Dornbaum, president of USG.
The ambiance was peaceful as students laid out approximately 100 candles into a configuration comprised of a nine, an 11 and the twin towers.
At the memorial, students gathered around the candles to share memories of the day and to reflect on the signifiance of the event. One student remarked that current undergraduate students are the last generation who lived through the events of that day and can say that they remember what happened.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, a series of terrorist attacks was carried out by Al-Qaeda militants, including two attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers in downtown Manhattan.
The attacks, which included four intentional plane crashes, formed one of the worst foreign attacks in U.S. history.
The effects of the attacks were both acute and long term and were felt by Baruch College students in various ways. According to an article published by the Associated Press around that time, the school itself played a direct role in the events surrounding the attacks.
The collapse of the Twin Towers damaged nearby offices and littered downtown Manhattan with rubble. As a result, many office workers found themselves without an office space in which they could work. As a solution to this problem, Baruch College lent the Subotnick Financial Services Center–which uses professional software and trading data–to its alumni and certain firms.
Displaced stock traders from firms like REFCO and Gruntal & Co were able to continue their work using the trading floor at Baruch College, despite the chaotic situation at Ground Zero.
Dornbaum further explained the reason for setting up the memorial.
“We want to give students an outlet to reflect and to remember. A lot of students were here in New York when the towers fell and it is important that we provide an outlet for them to not only talk about their experience, but to think back if they had loved ones, and you know, to share their experience with other students who have gone through a similar time.” Dornbaum went on to comment that the event is held annually because “USG makes it a point to recognize such days in U.S. history and New York history, because they are important dates.”
The impact of that day brought together current students with alumni and members of the surrounding financial community.
Given Baruch College’s proximity to the World Trade Center, as well as the quantity of native New Yorkers who attend the school, it is unsurprising that current students have personal 9/11 stories.
“Many of the students who will be starting college in the coming years won’t have been alive when 9/11 happened, but keeping the memory alive is something that we need to do for all the brave souls who lost their lives that day,” said Daniela Tamarova, a student representative on USG’s student building fund committee.
“Sure the whole country saw it as an attack, but for New York it is personal and any way that we can preserve the memory is always welcome in the city.”
Fifteen years later, the rubble has been cleared and the downtown skyline features new architecture. However, the less visual ramifications of the Sept. 11 attacks continue to linger and pervade the lives of U.S. citizens and Baruch students alike. Over 6,000 people were injured by the attacks. Many more–including firefighters, policemen and other first responders–have since then developed health problems as a result of inhaling debris at the site of ground zero.
While many current Baruch College students were too young to have handled a role in the events of that day, it is the effects of that day that have been handed down to this generation. It is this generation that has been tasked to remember and carry on with memorial services, like the one held on Monday.