__Students gathered in the Sunken Garden to mourn together__
A slight breeze crossed the Wren Courtyard Tuesday evening as over 100 students gathered to mourn the lives lost from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
p. The service, organized by Joey Andrews ’07, allowed students, faculty and members of the Williamsburg community to gather in remembrance of the tragedy.
p. Among the speakers were two College students, as well as local Fire Chief T.K. Weiler. Their speeches provided glimpses into separate struggles. Weiler commented on his own personal losses as a firefighter, as well as changes that happened within the rescue community as a result of the event.
p. “Among those who died were 343 of my brother firefighters,” Weiler said. “Over the last few days I thought about my grandchildren, how they would only read of this in the history books, and never have to see it firsthand.”
p. As a result of the attacks, College rescue volunteers are now issued personal identification cards.
p. A banner signed by hundreds of College students was presented to Weiler in honor of local firefighters.
p. The ceremony provided insight into the ethnic climate of a post-9/11 world.
p. Fuad Bohsali ’09, a Lebanese-American student at the College, hesitated during his speech, having difficulty finding the words to describe his disbelief after being approached by a friend who asked him to convert from Islam following the attacks.
p. “Coming to William and Mary I had to remember that Islam was my religion, and that I had nothing to be ashamed of for it,” Bohsali said.
p. Others took comfort in the wistful poeticisms delivered by College student Rory Eaton ’10.
p. “We have spent the last six years trying to look beyond this obscurity. To look past the darkness. And we all see different things. We’ve seen hope; we’ve seen patriotic spirit rekindled. We’ve seen bravery and we’ve seen sacrifice,” Eaton said. “But most of all, when the smoke cleared out, we found each other.”
p. According to Andrews, a key purpose of the service was to bring mourning for 9/11 to a local level. Andrews decided to organize the event after being accepted into the Fellowship for the Defense of Democracies, an organization that focuses on terrorism and the effect it has on democratic values. As part of the program, Andrews traveled to Israel for two weeks. He began to organize the 9/11 service over the summer.
p. “I really wanted to make sure that the campus had something to learn and grow from and remember,” Andrews said.