East Carolina University held a 9/11 memorial 20 years later with a new art sculpture located outside the Main Campus Student Center, in addition to a performance of music and colors by ECU’s ROTC members.
Chair of the Campus Committee and event coordinator Alex Dennis said the event is a way to give credit to the students who designed the memorial. He said the purpose of the program is to remember and honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.
“We want to reflect and educate others on the history of this holiday,” Dennis said. “The goal of all the programs this week was to give insight to the generation of students who may not have been alive for 9/11.”
Dennis said students and community members should educate themselves on the tragedy and never forget what happened and what the memorial stands for. He said it is critical to remember those the nation has lost.
The impact of 9/11 is still relevant today, according to Dennis. He said the world changed after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the subsequent war on terror, so people are at the event in order to remember what happened 20 years ago.
“There are so many documentaries and museums about 9/11,” Dennis said. “Art is a great way to take something tragic and remember it as it stands for unity, which has been the goal of all of this (the event).”
Jordan Hock, one of the students who designed the art piece, said he was there to speak on the sculpture the students have made. He said the sculpture has four pillars to signify each tragic event that took place on 9/11.
Hock said the circle in the middle of the sculpture represents hope and unity. He said all of the American people that came together after the tragedy helped shape the country that people live in today.
“I hope when students are on campus they will walk past the sculpture and be reminded of what happened,” Hock said. “Students should feel a sense of hope and unity every time they see this piece on campus.”
Dean Smith, who was in charge of the creation of the memorial, said the university wanted to host an event in remembrance of 9/11. He said the school wanted to push the theme of unity to its students.
Smith said it isn’t about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, but how the people came together on Sept. 12, 2001. He said unity is such an important theme for the event and it affects every citizen, including college students.
“The memorial is a great way to incorporate art into this tragedy and have the community come together,” Smith said. “Art has always been something that can bring people together if done the right way.”
Observer Toby Adeniji said 9/11 is a big part of American history and to come together to remember it is important. He said the tragedy has affected everyone individually and with this memorial, it’s a great way to find unity from the tragedy.
Adeniji said the memorial was not only about a sad event that happened 20 years ago, but a way to remember all the good that has happened since. He said the community mourned together about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Many civilians died, first responders sacrificed their lives,” Adeniji said. “We (the American people) went to war for it which many people think was unnecessary.”
Adeniji said the art piece showcases an event that happened in the past and intertwines the tragedy with society today. He said the sculpture is a vision that encapsulates everything that has happened in the past.
Art is always meaningful and spiritual, Adeniji said. He said the sculpture does a great job in emphasizing the events that took place and it allows everyone to come together to pay their respects.
“Today at the memorial, this sculpture is depicting all of the hardships we as a people have faced,” Adeniji said. “It’s spiritual in a sense that it ties us to the people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.”