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President Bacow's Memorial Address

September11 Memorial Address
Lawrence S. Bacow
President, Tufts University

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.11.02] A year ago, we stood here on this Quad, stunned by the horrific events of the day - unspeakable acts committed against ordinary people; people who were guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We came together on that beautiful fall day to mourn those who perished and to support each other as members of this special community. We came together not just as US citizens, but also as representatives of so many different countries, cultures, religions, and nationalities.

One year has now passed. What have we learned?

We have learned once again that hatred burns deeply within some people - people not interested in making the world a better place but only in inflicting pain and suffering upon their enemies.

We have learned a lesson as old as religion itself -- that there are those who are willing to desecrate sacred texts by committing violence in their name.

We are again reminded how easy it is for bigotry to reassert itself -- that no religion or nationality should be held responsible for the acts of a zealous few.

We have learned once again that it is easier to act with anger than it is to try to reconcile differences.

But we have also learned that common people are capable of acts of uncommon bravery. I speak of course of the firefighters and policemen who unselfishly risked and ultimately gave their lives so that others might live. I speak of the passengers of United flight 93.

We have learned yet again the importance of community. We draw strength from each other. This statement is as true for nations as it is for individuals

And we have learned that we should not take the freedoms that we enjoy in this most special of nations for granted.

One year ago today, we were reminded about the fragility of life. Many people awoke that day, and expected to see other beautiful mornings in their lifetimes. If there is a lesson in this tragedy for all of us it is that we must savor every moment and make the most of the opportunities we have. We need to look past our differences, embrace each other, and come together as a community.

We must each commit ourselves to making the world a better place through our own words and deeds. To be sure this task is great, and while it is not our responsibility to finish the work, neither are we free to shrink from the challenge. This is our responsibility as citizens of Tufts.

 

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