Vigil photo evokes memories of campus response
When a photo taken at Wilmington College the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks appeared on social media Sept, 11, 2019, it quickly elicited recollections of that fateful day and the campus’ impressive response of caring for one another.
It was a watershed moment for those students not unlike Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination and Challenger explosion for previous generations.
PICTURED: Shortly after the World Trade Center attacks, word spread around campus of a vigil planned for early afternoon at the Simon Goodman Memorial Carillon, which served as a tribal drum calling on the campus to be together at this historic moment in time.
The photo taken by Randy Sarvis, director of public relations, was initially posted on social media several years ago on the 9-11 anniversary, but this year, when an alumnus posted it on Instagram, it really brought back a plethora of memories of that incredible day when the campus came together as one.
“I was standing somewhere in this circle on Sept. 11, 2001, praying with my classmates — I’m so thankful now that someone thought to snap this photo,” the alum who posted on Instagram wrote. “TVs were still on carts (funny the details you recall) and I remember professors rolling them out into the common areas so we could watch the events unfold.
“What do you remember?” That question evoked an unprecedented response, some of which are included in the following.
Tara Sheldon Lydy ’96, a student life employee at the time, recalled, “That day will forever be etched in my mind. That time at the Carillon, while incredibly sad, was also a powerful and visual moment of God’s peace, love, hope and community.”
Brandi Walton ’04 also was in the circle. “I remember feeling very lost and helpless that day,” she said, “not really knowing what I should be doing or how I could be helping those who were hurting. It was a day I surely never will forget.”
Chris Lundquist ’04 also was there. “I teach high school history and I show this pic to my class,” he said. “The days following 9/11 represented America at its best.” Elizabeth Hudelson Walters ’04 was in the photography lab when the World Trade Tower attacks occurred. “I remember walking back into Marble Hall and all I could hear was silence except for the sound of everyone’s TVs.”
Ka’Shira Thompson Myburgh ’02 was in sports psychology class when the first Tower was hit. “I remember watching the second tower being hit while sitting at the Village,” she said, noting she also was in the circle with her sorority sisters and brothers. “A day I’ll never forget.”
Dr. Gloria Flaherty, then a professor of education, was in the circle not knowing the fate of family members in New York City and Washington, D.C. “When I got back on campus from doing an observation in Xenia, there were a dozen Wilmington students waiting form me because they knew I had relatives in both places. They were there to be with me and for me — Wilmington College was and is a family!”
Sarah Newton added, “This is why I love Wilmington College. I didn’t attend college here, but my 13-year-old son wants to.”