Wilmington College Remembers Sept. 11, 2001

September 11, 2019

Sam Stratman Shares the Message He Presented at This Morning’s 9/11 Ceremony in Wilmington

Sam Stratman, adjunct professor at Wilmington College, reflected on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was serving in Washington, D.C., on the staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

PICTURED: WC students, faculty and staff held a vigil on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We gather to remember the thousands of innocents who perished on this date 18 years ago and to honor the selfless sacrifice of firefighters and police who perished for our safety on that terrible day.

We remember where we were on that beautiful, cloudless Tuesday morning when the awesome gifts of our high-tech world were turned against us by cowards intent upon seeking our destruction.

Not a week passes that I don’t recall my personal recollections on that very intense day in Washington: our forced evacuation from the U.S. Capitol as a suspected aircraft bore down on us; the initial shock and disbelief among friends and colleagues replaced quickly by a sense of resolve and purpose; the gentle tones in which we related to one another for months afterwards. For a moment anyway, party politics was overtaken by demands for national unity.

May we always continue to cultivate the spirit of service and bravery that motivated hundreds of firefighters and police officers to climb the stairs of burning buildings so that others might live.

Everyday, men and women on our armed forces confront face-to-face the hatred and violence of our enemies on battlefields all over the world. We grieve with families in our own community whose brave soldiers have died and been injured in defense of our freedom.

We owe an unpayable debt to those whose gift of self, embodied in the performance of their duties, now rest in peace. We commend their eternal soul to the mercy of God in whose kingdom every tear will be wiped away.

But if we cannot repay the debt we owe our beloved dead, we may at least discharge some portion of it by being better citizens and neighbors ourselves. We may honor their sacrifice by building the kind of America they died for: a land of liberty and justice for all, a decent and tolerant society, a community of civic friendship and a leader of freedom’s cause in the world.”