9/11 attacks deserve greater recognition on college campuses

The United States remembered the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11 this month. While it may be disturbing to process the memories of this terrorist attack, avoiding them will only dilute their significance. In conjunction with remembering the terror, it is our civic duty to honor the heroic men and women who risked their lives to save others.

Geneseo, as a college, did not recognize the 9/11 anniversary adequately. It is our responsibility, especially as a SUNY institution, to express the gravity of such events that so greatly impacted our own state, and presumably many of our students.

Specifically, it would have been sensible for professors to acknowledge the significance of the day during classes. Perhaps some professors recognized the anniversary; Geneseo, however, should have encouraged all faculty members to mention the importance of this day. Furthermore, those who were teaching at the appropriate times should have been prompted to create a moment of silence at the minutes the Twin Towers were struck: 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m. 

The lack of acknowledgment displayed on Sept. 11 emits an apathetic attitude. With all of the adversities we have faced, Geneseo has proven itself to be far from an apathetic institution. If professorstook two minutes out of their lessons to acknowledge 9/11, class time would not have been diminished. Instead, patriotism would have been augmented.

The few acknowledgements that were made by Geneseo, however, do deserve to be commended. For example, the grass hill in front of the gazebo was adorned with 2,996 small American flags. This was certainly an applaudable tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11—but more should have been done.

Geneseo is not the only school that grapples with the issue of deciding how to address the tragic day. Southern Methodist University also placed nearly 3,000 miniature flags on the school’s lawn and has done so for years, according to TheBlaze.

This year, however, SMU officials dictated that the flag display be moved. 

“The University respects the right of all members of the SMU community to express their opinions,” The Dallas Morning News reported. “The University also respects the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful or harassing.” 

In fear of triggering students or faculty, SMU is moving the flag display to a less central park on campus, The Dallas Morning News said.

This change in the placement of the memorial caused many disgruntled students to speak up. Leaders from groups with a wide range of beliefs joined together to send a letter to SMU President R. Gerald Turner explaining their disappointment, according to TheBlaze. 

“Push it off into a little park in the corner, it’s almost the same as not having it,” Heather Hall, president of SMU’s Turning Point USA chapter, said. 

The displeasure SMU students feel for having their 9/11 memorial moved is understandable. Tributes to such an important day should not be downplayed in fear of triggering some students. While it is imperative to regard the wellbeing of every student, it is our duty as Americans to remember the day on which so many lives were lost and so many heroes emerged.

Like SMU, not all Geneseo students were satisfied with the manner in which our school chose to recognize 9/11. Though our flag display is deserving of praise, there must be extended acknowledgement in the future. 

Next year, Geneseo must call upon faculty and extend our pride past the gazebo.