Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
President Rebecca Chopp opened the meeting for worship in the Quaker tradition with a moment of silent prayer before offering words of remembrance and inviting the community to look towards a vision of non-violence.
“Today we come to remember, we come to imagine, we come to undertake a journey of peace,” Chopp said.
Professor Lee Smithey gave remarks as did Professor Lynn Schofield ’99, whose mother died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Schofield shared her hope that the community look beyond the past and the details of the tragedy, and towards become a community of “rebuilders.”
“A network of 19 men may have killed my mother, but my family had a community of rebuilders, a community of Phoenixes who helped us rise from the ashes and dust off our clothes,” Schofield said.
As part of the interfaith service, which included Buddhist and Christian prayers, Rebekah Judson ’12 and Sydni Adler ’13 sang the Hebrew song Eli Eli. Written during World War II by Hannah Szenes—who died rescuing Hungarian Jews from deportation—the song has come to symbolize remembering and hope for the Jewish people, Judson said.
“I really value that the service was centered around personal reflection,” Judson said. “It was an important coming together of the community.”
Judson said she hopes America can continue to process the tragedy individually while moving away from memorializing the details of the day.
“I think as a country we’ve regurgitated the images and words of that event enough and now it’s time to leave that behind and focus on what we’re doing as a community to move forward positively,” Judson said.
At the end of a prayerful silence led by members of the Young Friends, community members wrote prayers on colored paper and hung them throughout the Meeting House. They wrote prayers to bring peace, to end fear, to share love.