ROTC Organizes 9/11 Remembrance at University of Rochester
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"We don't forget these things as a community and as future service members and I really thought it would be more than appropriate to start off the school year and the semester with a memorial vigil," said Olivia Wittman, Navy ROTC.
The Reserve Officers Training Corps wanted to do something different to commemorate 9/11. They stood at attention on the Eastman Quad in 15 minute intervals with one presenting the American Flag.
For many of these future service members, especially those from the New York City area, they vividly remember where they were when the terrorists struck.
"It was the middle of sixth grade. Class just froze and then they turned on the TV for us. Most of us were taken home by our parents actually. My mom came and got me and brought me home," said Erik Smolinski.
Many who stopped to watch the observance called it a show of respect for those who lost their lives eleven years ago. They include six University of Rochester graduates; among them Jeremy Glick, who is credited with trying to overtake the hijackers on Flight 93 that crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"It makes me feel almost sad like I could start crying, but I'm glad that people like that are around and care and take the time to do things like this, and I wonder if they feel proud," said Susie Kopitzki.
The ROTC members say they were proud and honored to take part in this remembrance. Each had their own special thoughts while standing at attention.
"All the heroes who came to the rescue and pretty much showed what humanity is all about as they helped everyone who was in need. I thought that was awesome, it was really inspiring," said Paul Grossi, Air Force ROTC.
For many students, this was just another day of class and having lunch on the quad. Sadly, some believe the events of September 11, 2001 will someday be forgotten. They say it's because they were young when it happened and have no personal connection.
"I think for a lot of people, that's how it already is. Not that it doesn't mean anything but that they don't think much about it. I think always for some people it will mean something and for others it won't mean much," said Rebecca Baer, a senior.
Those in ROTC say they volunteered to help keep America safe so the rest of us can continue with our way of life.