Members of the University community gathered together with Ann Arbor residents on the Diag Friday at a service to honor President Bush”s call for a national day of prayer and remembrance.
Assistant University Carillonist Judy Ogden honored Bush”s request for bells to ring at noon by performing a program of patriotic music on the bells of Burton Memorial Tower. Her selections included the Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful, among others.
After the performance, University President Lee Bollinger addressed the crowd about not letting discrimination be a result of Tuesday”s tragedy.
“There is a natural human tendency to deal with this in terms of anger towards groups of people,” Bollinger said. “Part of our obligation is to make sure that does not happen.”
The Rev. Jim Kushner of the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship echoed Bollinger”s sentiments by leading a prayer for the victims of the terrorist attacks and asked the community to withhold judgment against Muslim and Islamic members of the community.
“I”ve been very appreciative of the fact that the University has been creating space to wrestle with issues involved with this tragedy,” Kushner, an organizer of the event, said.
Rabbi Alter Goldstein of Chabad House also spoke at Friday”s service. He cited the Kaballah, a Hebrew text, and explained the need for the country to pull out of the darkness it now faces. “Darkness serves one purpose, to be transformed into light,” he said. “The way for us to pull out of this, we have to penetrate the world with more positive.”
Alter then handed out coins for attendees to donate to charities of their choice.
Those gathered on the Diag were also met with the words of Pastor Bob Schoenhals of the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry. Although members of a Hindu temple and various Muslim leaders were invited to speak, representatives from those communities were not present due to religious obligations.
Though it may not have seemed so to participants, the service was in fact planned that morning at 10 a.m., just two hours prior to its commencement, Michigan Student Assembly President Matt Nolan said.
“It”s amazing how quickly and strongly people have been coming together,” Nolan said.
Vanessa Furtado, an LSA junior, said the University has been very accomodating in helping students deal with Tuesday”s events.
“It seems like they”re working hard to make everyone comfortable,” Furtado said.
A similar service was held on North Campus with speeches by representatives of various religious denominations and a program of music by University Carillonist Margo Halsted at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie bell tower.