On Sept. 11, 2001, four-passenger planes were hijacked and used as weapons to carry out the deadliest terrorist attack to ever occur on United States soil. A total number of 2,977 people lost their lives and left thousands of others with serious injuries.
Twenty years later, America continues to be affected by the events of that day. An overwhelming share of 9/11 first responders and survivors have struggled with illnesses related to being exposed to toxic fumes and dust on ground zero. Long-term psychological problems plague witnesses who experienced the attacks in person or the news.
Those old enough to remember the attacks can often recall where they were and what they were doing when the planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York City.
“I was in a hallway in the West Point engineering building and a construction worker who was outside at a project site ran into the hallway and said a plane flew into one of the World Trade Center towers. My immediate reaction and thought were that a small private plane had likely flown in error into the building. A little later I went into a room with a TV on and saw the reality of the first plane in the tower and knew this was a lot bigger than I originally thought,” said President Timothy Trainor. “I can still accurately describe what the construction worker telling us the news looked like even though I had not seen him much at all,” Trainor added. Later that day, he remembered sitting in church with his family and many others praying for all the individuals who were affected.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary, the Mount community came together on the morning of Sept. 11 for a prayer service on Veterans Walkway. Among the large number of casualties that occurred, five were Mount alumni and six were immediate relatives of alumni. Students lit candles in memory of the fallen heroes while reading their names: Jim Murphy (C’93), Elizabeth “Beth” Logger (C’91), Anthony Gallagher (C’83), Kevin Murphy (C’83) and Andrew Alameno (C’86).
In 2006, the class of 1986 established the American Heroes Scholarship fund in memory of their classmate Andrew Alamenzo. This scholarship aims to provide financial support for Mount St. Mary’s students whose parents work for or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, law enforcement or as firefighters. Students who have received the scholarship funds may not have remembered what happened that day or may not have even been born yet. However, it is still important to educate those individuals on what occurred that day and understand the meaning behind the scholarship being offered.
Antonio Luna (C’25), a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps program at the Mount, commented, “It is important to remind everybody that in the days after 9/11, the U.S. was more unified than it had ever been before in history.” “Considering today’s political climate, we need to bring everyone together in the sense of unity again to remind them what we accomplished before,” he added.