For some who lived through the Sept. 11 attacks, there is a paradox – move on from the catastrophe, but never forget it.
For the latter, a small memorial for the attacks’ victims took place yesterday evening on the steps of the Hatcher Graduate Library under overcast skies.
Mike Bouchard, the Republican candidate who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November’s election, spoke at the vigil about the collective spirit of the American people.
“Nothing could pull (Ground Zero volunteers) from that opportunity to help people,” Bouchard said.
With the wind gently flapping an American flag at half-staff behind the crowd, LSA junior Ryan Bouchard addressed the crowd.
Bouchard, who is not related to Mike, organized the vigil with support from the nonprofit organization Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The group formed after Sept. 11 to fight terrorism throughout the world.
“It’s a new day,” Bouchard said of the post-Sept. 11 era. “The next chapter not just in U.S. history, but in world history.”
E. Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs, took the microphone on behalf of the University.
She said the University became involved in the vigil to honor the alumni that passed away in the attacks and to unite the student community on an issue that affects everyone.
“I think that all of us have our individual and collective memories, an individual and collective resolve,” she said in an interview before the speech. “That resolve is around creating a better world.”
On the podium, Harper focused on the effect of the attacks on the campus community and what we can do as individuals to change our environment.
“How then shall I choose to live?” she said, describing the questions raised by an event spurred from “hate and misunderstanding.”
She called on the crowd to make a difference and remember how privileged they are to be at the University of Michigan.
The crowd of about 40, stood on the Diag for a few minutes after the memorial, speaking quietly in small circles.
Following the speeches, some moved inside to the Chemistry Building for a viewing of a documentary titled “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”