September 17, 2001
reacts to day of tragedy
Last week Emory University, along with the entire nation and much of
the world, reeled from the blow delivered in the form of terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But just like the rest of
the United States, Emory fought through its shock and grief and soldiered
on in the face of tragedy.
By 10:30 a.m. the morning of Sept. 11, a large-screen television had been set up in the middle of the Dobbs Center to broadcast news coverage of the attacks, and a steadily growing crowd that reached into the hundreds assembled to watch. Harland Cinema likewise put newscasts up on the big screen.
Campus Life personnel scrambled to reserve rooms in the building for
quiet reflection, mourning and prayer, and the Counseling Center sent
counselors to help people cope with what had happened. The Assocation
of Emory Alumni also opened the Miller-Ward Alumni House for people to
Meanwhile in the Administration Building, the University leadership was
trying to determine the best and most appropriate course of action. The
schools of nursing and public health, both in close proximity to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, which had begun a precautionary evacuation,
were the first to cancel classes for the day. Around 11:30 a.m., President
Bill Chace decided to suspend all academic operations as of noon, with
the hospital and clinic remaining open. Chace released the following statement:
On behalf of the entire Emory communityall of its people
in every walk of life on our campusI express my deepest sympathy
to the victims of the tragedies of this day and to their loved ones. To
the students and other members of the Emory family who today are in shock
and grief, our hearts go out.
Word spread around campus of an interfaith service to be held later in
the day in Glenn Auditorium, and for much of the early afternoon the campus
quieted, as nonessential employees went home and students returned to
their residence halls.
At 5 p.m., the lower section of Glenn was full, and more people were
making their way to the balcony. Lining the dais were Chace, Dean of the
Chapel Susan Henry-Crowe, Emory College Acting Dean Bobby Paul, Senior
Associate Dean Peter Dowell, Student Government Association President
Anna Manasco and other students and faculty representing various faith
This is a day unlike any most of us have ever known, said
Henry-Crowe. This is a day we need to be together in solidarity
in the midst of all our brokenness, of our fear of terror.
The victory we can take away is to realize that people can try
to divide each other, but events like this force us into the arms of others,
Paul said. Suddenly we find our common humanity with them. If we
can do that, we do not let hatred and divisiveness prevail.
Chaces remarks appear here.
Dowell also spoke, as did Manasco. Then, one by one, the students stepped
to the pulpit and delivered prayers for peace, prayers for healing, prayers
for love, each reresenting a different faith: Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish,
Sikh, Muslim, Bahai and Christian.
A capella group No Strings Attached performed a hymn.
But perhaps most moving was a group recitation led by Don Saliers, Cannon
Distin-guished Professor of Theology and Worship. Over and over, Saliers
reminded those gathered And so we must say peace
in all the words translations, with the crowd repeating peace in
each language after Saliers spoke it.
To close, ushers lit the candles everyone received upon entering the auditorium, and the entire crowd filed out in absolute silence, marking the end of a tragic day for a University and an entire nation.