As I was sitting here in my office this morning, the day before I head down to Ann Arbor for Michigan v. Notre Dame Under the Lights, I was forwarded a link to your front page, on which was a picture of a few of my closest friends from my days in Ann Arbor (some of whom are also returning this weekend). The picture was from the student vigil we held on the Diag the night of the 9/11 attacks, now 10 years ago.

I still remember that day like it was yesterday. As the Michigan Student Assembly president at the time, I woke up preparing to chair my first meeting of the year, and instead spent the day running from meeting to meeting, working with the University on setting up counseling centers and class cancellation, and then working with my friends on the assembly to decide to hold that vigil and then organize it in the span of a few hours.

My friends’ faces say it all — the pain you can see Andrew actually feeling, the concern and uncertainty that Jessica had for what this all meant and the resolve to do whatever was going to be asked by Mike. None of us really knew what that day had meant at the time, but we had more than 20,000 people together that night just to be together to feel together, and to begin to move forward together. We didn’t come that night calling for retribution, or calling for absolution — we came together purely for the sake of reminding each other that we are all collectively one and here for each other as a community at Michigan. I have never talked to anyone who was there that night who didn’t feel the same way, and my trust in our future as a nation continues to be founded largely in moments like that.

Matt Nolan
2001 Michigan Student Assembly president

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