Dear Members of the University of Illinois Springfield Campus Community:
Ten years and three weeks ago, in August 2001, the first freshman class at UIS moved into the brand new Lincoln Residence Hall. Three weeks later, we all watched the horrible events on the morning of September 11. Like you, I remember where I was and how I heard the news.
As the enormity of 9-11 unfolded that day, the UIS community joined the world in what became a period of both mourning and resolve. Our community assembled on the lawn just west of Brookens Library for a brief but inspirational ceremony of remembrance. It was important how we responded then; it is just as important that we remember and reflect now on the tenth anniversary of those events that have changed the world so profoundly.
As I reflect today on the tragedy of 9-11, I am reminded of three powerful lessons. First, that we are capable of setting aside differences and coming together as community, especially in times of crisis; second, that we are able to attach ourselves to needs larger than ourselves, sometimes with great heroism and at great sacrifice; and third, that service to others is part of our responsibility as citizens. As crises fade, we may forget or neglect those lessons. That’s why remembering is so important. It's why September 11 is now, officially, a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
It's also why I am so pleased that our UIS students, staff and faculty are commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9-11 in significant ways this week. Some of our students are going to Joplin, Mo., this weekend to assist with cleanup after the tornado there. Professor Steve Schwark is hosting a brownbag lunch and discussion on Tuesday, September 13. A complete list of activities can be found on the UIS newsroom page. Also, a video of people from the UIS community remembering 9-11 was produced in recent days and is worth watching.
I especially invite you to a campus-wide gathering, led by Student Life, for a moment of silence at 9:50 a.m. Friday, September 9, at the Colonnade on the Quad. I am sorry that I must be out of town that day for a University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting in Urbana, but I will be with you in spirit.
I encourage all of us to honor the memories of the victims who lost their lives on September 11. I encourage us also to be inspired by the heroes of 9-11, the police officers, firefighters and ordinary citizens who responded in service to their neighbors. I commend the UIS community for being a leader in service and civic engagement, especially at this somber time.