As candles flickered across the Diag, members of the campus community bowed their heads to commemorate the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“The September 11 vigil was a place for all members of the University community to come together, to remember and to reflect on these tragic events,” said MSA President Angela Galardi.

The vigil was sponsored by the Michigan Student Assembly.

Although last year’s program did not include music, Music School senior Darnell Ishmel sang the national anthem at last night’s vigil.

LSA freshman Theresa Bomer said, “(The national anthem) is very important because it’s not just the campus coming together, it’s the entire nation.”

The decision to sing the national anthem was controversial, said Courtney Skiles, MSA communication chair.

But “the committee felt that it was expected to be sung tonight,” Skiles said.

LSA junior Deborah Kim, a member of the vigil-planning committee, said the anthem should be included. “Even though it talks about war, the song symbolizes freedom,” Kim said.

The vigil began with an introduction from Galardi followed by remarks from University President Mary Sue Coleman.

“Some moments in our lives are too deep for words,” Coleman said, adding that she believes that being in the company of others is a great comfort.

Following Coleman, Ann Arbor Police Chief Daniel Oates took the podium. Oates, a former member of the New York City Police Department, spoke on the conflict between national safety and personal freedoms.

“It is a mark of our society, our free democracy, that we can wrestle with this question,” Oates said.

Black Student Union Speaker Boatemaa Ntiri was the last of the evening’s speakers. Ntiri, an LSA senior, reminded the audience that the events of Sept. 11 were everyone’s loss.

“The 9-11 attacks were colorblind … did we forget that the race that suffered the greatest loss was the human race?” Ntiri said.

As Ntiri’s speech finished, Taps was played and candles were lit by community and religious leaders.

The flame was passed from student to student until the entire Diag was aglow.

MSA officers commented that the turnout was much lower than last year’s vigil.

LSA freshman Amber Janis said, “I think that it’s really good that they are making an active effort and remembering September 11.”

“But, I am still sad that more students will come to Saturday’s football game than came here,” she added.

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