By Robert D. Gosselin
In an effort to increase community attendance, Fitchburg State University has decided to hold its memorial tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Monday, Sept. 12, one day after the anniversary of the historic event.
“Doing something Sunday would not have had the same impact due to attendance, and quite a few students go home on Sunday,“ Shane Franzen, associate director of Student Development, said during a recent interview. “Since the 11th was on a Sunday, I pushed it back a day.”
Franzen chaired the event-planning committee for this event, which consisted of members of the Student Government Association, Fitchburg State University ROTC, and the Office of Student Development. “I wanted to do something to reach the most faculty and staff,” Franzen said.
Henry Parkinson, director of the Office of Student Development, said he agreed with the decision to delay the ceremony. “The reality is a lot of our students go home, and staff don’t work on Sundays,” Parkinson said. “We didn’t want to pay tribute to 9/11 with no one there. That is the only reason for choosing the day after.”
Parkinson said that Sept. 9 had also been considered as a date for the tribute ceremony. “We also looked at doing it on Friday, but for the same reasons, did not go with it,” he said. “SGA was not involved with the decision on the date. We made the decision over the summer to make sure all the planning was put in place.”
The university community was made aware of the final details agreed on for this event with an email sent out by the Office of Student Development on Sept. 8.
According to Franzen, this tribute will also be the first time the university has held such an event since the first anniversary of the attacks in 2002. To commemorate the solemn occasion, historical items in remembrance of the attacks will be on display from Sept. 12 to Sept. 16 in the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library.
The most significant of these items will be a banner that was signed by members of the Fitchburg State College community immediately after the terrorist attacks in 2001. The banner was originally destined to be sent to New York City as a sign of support, but that plan had to be canceled due to the anthrax scare that was sweeping the nation after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The tribute ceremony will take place on Sept. 12 at 12:15 p.m. on the Quad.
Included in the event will be a presentation of the colors by the ROTC, a wreath-laying ceremony by the SGA, and a moment of silence. The City of Fitchburg Fire Department will also be on hand to ring a bell in honor of the occasion. There is also a dove release scheduled during the ceremony.