A Message from the President

 September 10, 2021

Remembering 9/11

Twenty years ago on a September day under blue skies, our world changed forever. We, as a nation, watched in horror and disbelief as America came under attack. We were shocked by the collapse of the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon, and the loss of life in Shanksville, PA. We were gripped by overwhelming fear and uncertainty as we experienced one of the darkest days in American history.

However, in one of those darkest of days emerged shining beacons of courage and compassion. In the days, weeks, months, and years following 9/11, we were inspired by the stories of first-responders, public officials, and ordinary citizens who risked and even gave their lives to protect their fellow Americans. A new spirit of empathy had been ignited in the American consciousness as we put aside our differences in the wake of a tragedy that robbed thousands of families of their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, grandmothers, cousins, nieces and nephews. An attack, borne out of intense fear and hatred, had instead birthed a new breed of patriotism and ignited a new flame of altruism to light our way into an uncertain future.

Each of us were deeply impacted by the events of 9/11. After twenty years, we continue to struggle with the issues raised in its aftermath, the conflicts that followed, and the significant questions of social injustice and intolerance endemic to American society. Our nation, and our world, has faced so many new struggles in the form of economic insecurity, threats of terrorism, and now the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

I am confident, however, that as Americans we will continue to endure, as we have so many times throughout our history. Moments like 9/11 have taught us that in the worst of times our best characteristics shine through. Those memories of strangers banding together to confront a common threat must never be forgotten – neither should we forget the sacrifices and struggles of those who are unable to join us as we recognize this twentieth anniversary.

We have faced, and will continue to face, great adversity in our efforts to build a peaceful and just world. While the brutality of the events of 9/11 may remain fresh in so many of our minds, that spirit of patriotism and empathy must also endure. The best way to honor those who were lost that day is to continue embracing the tenets of a safe and just world for all of us. Those feelings of love and compassion that followed in the wake of that attack must remain an unwavering part of our fabric as a nation, and I have the complete confidence that we will continue to stand up to the forces that seek to divide us.

Bowie State University honors the sacrifices made by our first-responders and the lives lost on 9/11 – we hope that you will join us in our recognition during the opening of our football team’s first home game Saturday, as we begin with a moment of silence.

As you remember and honor the memory of those that perished on 9/11, I hope you will be inspired to think of new ways to engage on the campus of Bowie State University and with those in your communities. Our history as the first HBCU in the State Maryland has taught us, by bringing ourselves closer to one another and understanding our own challenges and struggles, we carry the legacy and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in ensuring our safety today. The pathway to a better future is not always beset by outside forces, but by the fear among our own fellow Americans. We owe it to the lives lost on that day, and to future generations, to do everything we can to extinguish such fear and intolerance.