WKU remembers events of 9/11

Katherine Sproles

Marking the 12 year anniversary of Sept. 11, the WKU Office of Leadership and Volunteerism hosted WKU’s first ever candlelight vigil of remembrance.

The night’s ceremonies began with a documentary presentation in the Downing Student Union auditorium introduced by Hunter Williams, coordinator of student activities.

Prior to the event, Williams said it was important to remember the events of that day 12 years ago, and the veterans who went to war shortly after.

“Our history can show us that freedom really isn’t free,” Williams. “So it’s important to pay respect and honor those that fought and who are fighting now for our freedom. We want them to know that WKU loves our soldiers and we support them.”

Williams at the event introduced retired Lieutenant Colonel John Baker, a professor in the leadership studies department, who proceeded to introduce a documentary on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“9/11 was the fourth worst disaster in the US of human lives lost,” Baker said. “I hope and pray that someday we can overcome these ideologies that prevent us from living peacefully together.”

The presentation was followed by a candlelight vigil at Guthrie Bell Tower coordinated by WKU student Joshua Miller. Miller, a senior in the ROTC program, said he is going through the program to be commissioned as an office, and in May hopes to audition for the army band of Joy to sing the national anthem.

Miller introduced Major Stephan Walters, filling in for Lieutenant Colonel Scott Walker, who couldn’t make it to the night’s events due to illness.

Walters spoke about Sept. 11 as a day that “fundamentally transformed American ideology.”

“I have lots of hope and promise for your generation,” Walters said to the crowd. “You are asking the questions we should have asked,”

Walters also spoke about how the military has changed since Sept. 11, giving increased female participation in the military as an example.

Lauren Cunningham, community engagement coordinator at WKU, sang “Amazing Grace” as candles began to be lit. Miller lit the first candle as he said, “Let this be symbolic of how the events in NYC touched a nation.”

Once all the candles had been lit, and Cunningham finished singing, a moment of silence was taken by the crowd.

Miller closed the ceremony by saying, “Even though it was intimate, it’s a powerful moment.”

Senior Omega Buckner was in attendance at the vigil. She said the vigil should become an annual event.

“It gives you a change to reflect on the event and what we should do as a nation.”