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9/11 remembered: Marist honors those affected by the tragedy

By Michael Garofalo
On September 13, 2011

  • The Marist singers and band begin to prepare to perform the piece they have selected for the 9/11 ceremony. photo courtesy of Michael Garofalo
  • Outside of the chapel, a flag was placed for each life lost in the 9/11 attacks. Photo courtsey of Michael Garofalo

Students, faculty and parents gathered outside Lowell Thomas Communication Center on Saturday to honor the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 and to remember both loss and heroism.

The ceremony evoked many different emotions in Suzanne Waters of Lagrangeville, whose daughter, Caitlin, a freshman, played the piccolo in the ceremony.

Suzanne Waters felt sadness, but also patriotism.

"We're a country…tragedy can bring you together," she said.

The ceremony "was very beautiful – uplifting," she said. "We all remember where we were [on 9/11]."

A steady drumroll introduced four ROTC cadets, who carried the American flag and New York State flag to their places aside the lectern. Among the day's speakers were Marist College President Dennis Murray, Brother Frank Kelly, Student Body President Andrew Paulsen, Student Body Vice President April Bourlier and junior Daniel Torres. Brother Kelly initiated the ceremony.

"We gather here to honor those whose lives were lost but not forgotten, to pray for those who grieve their loss and to remember the grace made manifest that day in the acts of kindness and the generosity of strangers toward one another – America at its best," he said, before introducing Murray.

Murray addressed the direct impact that the attacks had on the Marist community. Six Marist alumni were killed in the attack: Thomas G. Crotty '81, Daniel M. Coffey '69, Jacqueline K. Sayegh Duggan '89, Vincent D. Kane '86, Kevin J. Pfeifer '83 and Carmen A. Rivera '02. Many other alumni and current students suffered losses, he said.

Paulsen quoted former President George W. Bush's address to the nation after the attacks.

"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America," Bush said.

That strength was evident in the first responders and in other citizens as well.

"Perhaps one of the most memorable events of that terrible tragic week," Murray said, "was when the Sirens, our a cappella women's group, went as a group down to ground zero and spontaneously started to sing ‘God Bless America,' and a thousand people around them, with tears in their eyes, joined in."

A decade later, music again united a crowd. The Marist Singers and band performed numerous patriotic songs, including "God Bless America," "America the Beautiful," and "Irish Blessing."

Singers Nicole Radassao, Rebecca Gretschel and Danielle Dacchille, all seniors, said that music has a very expressive and relatable nature.

"We vocalize what people can't say," Radassao said.

Sometimes words are not even necessary. Small flags stand and cover the lawn in front of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel. Each one represents a life lost on 9/11.

This display is "one of the most touching moments that have taken place in our entire country" Murray said.

Students gathered after the ceremony to view the display.

"Ten years later, the healing process continues, but we haven't forgotten; we never will…" Murray said. A stream of the video is available at

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