Baylor Community Observes Anniversary Of 9-11

News Photo 613
Hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered in the SUB Bowl to remember Sept. 11.
Sept. 12, 2002

by Nicole L. Anderson, Student Newswriter

The Baylor University community commemorated the anniversary of Sept. 11 with special services and other events on the university's campus. Faculty, staff and students took advantage of the various opportunities to reflect on that fateful day and the impact it has had on their lives and their country.

Hundreds of faculty, staff and students attended morning Chapel services Sept. 11 in Waco Hall for worship, prayer and biblical reflection led by Dr. Todd Lake, dean of university ministries. Lake examined the Christian response to the tragedy and reflected on relevant biblical truths.

"We looked at a lot of scripture and the major themes in the Old and New Testaments that vengeance is God's and the Christian response is to bear witness to Christ through forgiveness and loving acts," Lake said. "In Matthew 5, we are told to pray for our enemies and to bless those who harm us. That's the Christian response to evil. Paul also said do not repay evil with evil, but repay evil with good."

An evening worship service in the SUB bowl outside the Bill Daniel Student Center drew nearly 1,000 people. Musical highlights of the service included the combined Heavenly Voices and Baylor Religious Hour (BRH) choirs and worship led by Ryan Richardson, a Truett Seminary student who also leads worship during Baylor's Chapel services.

Grapevine senior Ryan Vauk, whose uncle died in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, shared a moving testimony of how he and his family have entered into the suffering and comfort of Christ through their loss.

Lake said that he was moved by the response of the Baylor community to the services, which included words of comfort and reflection from Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr.

"Dr. Sloan's message brought the Good News of Christ to bear on the real life tragedies of this world," Lake said. "I was deeply moved by the desire of so many on our campus to turn toward God."

Some students said that their Christian faith has helped them to deal with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Christi Jordan, a junior from Frisco, said that through these events, she has come to realize that a single moment can change many things in life.

"The events of the past year have taught me that things can always change, and that we can't put faith in what we know," Jordan said.

Students and faculty also remembered the anniversary outside of the official university events. Because of the emotional nature of many services, some students chose to commemorate the significance of the anniversary in an individual and personal way. Abilene senior Rebecca Lawson said that she took time to reflect on the past year's events during the moment of silence at noon.

"I found a lot of peace and closure yesterday," Lawson said. "I had a personal quiet time to pray for the lives lost in last year's tragedy and for the leadership of our country."

Professors also led class discussions about the impact and aftermath of that tragic day. Dr. Daniel Greene, lecturer in American history, said Sept. 11 engaged students in a discussion of current events in an historical context.

"It's not always easy to find ways of relating history to current events," Greene said. "What I've tried to do is talk about the ways that students think that 9-11 has changed their view of the government, of the president and of the world. It really has changed the way that we look at the outside world. A year ago no one was talking about Afghanistan and most Americans couldn't even find it on a map."

Other events on campus included a memorial recital, performed by Assistant University Carillonneur Lynnette Geary, on the McLane Carillon in the tower of Pat Neff Hall. The recital included the "Doxology", the McLane Carillon's signature piece arranged by University Carillonneur Herbert Colvin, and "In Memoriam - September 11, 2001," written by John Courter four days after the attack and played on carillons throughout the country on Sept. 11.

"I think we sometimes have to be reminded that we sing and dance for sorrow, as well as for joy," Geary said. "Music is a way to express that sorrow which cannot be articulated in any other way."

Armstrong Browning Library also opened the McLean Foyer of Meditation for public reflection on Sept. 11. The library participated in the national program, "Celebrate America's Freedoms: A Day of Remembrance." According to Rita Patteson, curator of manuscripts at Armstrong Browning Library, people were already outside the library waiting to come in when it opened at 9 that morning. Many guests recorded their thoughts and observations in a journal that will become part of the library's permanent archives.

"I was gratified to see the number of people who responded to our offer of a place for solitude and reflection," Patteson said. "It made me very proud of everyone who participated in Remembrance Day."

Looking for more news from Baylor University?