SBU Remembers 9/11 on Calm September Morning

Carnations, placed by those attending the 9/11 ceremonies, adorn the SBU 9/11 Memorial. Credits: Kevin Bradley Jr.
A crowd gathers before the 9/11 ceremony. Credits: Kevin Bradley Jr.
Students wait for the 9/11 ceremony to start. Credits: Kevin Bradley Jr.
ROTC cadets stand at attention before the ceremony. Credits: Kevin Bradley Jr.

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The sun beamed down onto a calm blue September day Monday morning as dozens gathered for the 9/11 memorial at St. Bonaventure University. Despite the perfect weather, the crowd was relatively somber and quiet. Rows of Army ROTC students stood completely still at attention as the Rev. Francis Di Spigno, OFM, took to the podium to begin the ceremony.

Senior Lena Young opened with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Gliding through the air like a robin, Young’s powerful voice brought elegance to an otherwise casually attended morning event. She brought the crowd with her on the highs and lows of the song, leading to deafening silence at the conclusion.

“We pray for peace, so that we may never have to fight again,” Di Spigno, the University Ministries executive director, said in his opening remarks.

Sign Up for E-News

He spoke of the pain endured by Americans and countries around the world in the war on terror. His message was one of unity in the face of division, of sticking together as a singular people despite the lines dividing us by region and culture. The small crowd stood transfixed at the speech, no phones going off or conversations being muttered as the man spoke.

“Bind us always together, as we continue to build that peaceable kingdom,” Di Spigno read from Colossians 3:12-15, driving home the point of unity and forgiveness in tough times, calling us to clothe ourselves in humility and compassion.

At the request of the priest, everyone flipped open their pamphlets to read from the peace prayer, asking God to take away personal desires and replace them with selfless ideas, or seeking to love instead of to be loved. As the recitation began, a single voice formed from the people, a united plea to God above to make those gathered kinder and wiser than the day before. A feeling of warmth grew as everyone partook in this activity, each of them asking for the same thing under the cloudy blue sky.

At the close, LaurieAnne Wickens played “Taps” on the trumpet. The fist recognizable notes tumbled from the instrument as the silence of the event grew somber. All eyes of the civilians were drawn instinctively drawn to Old Glory waving in the faint breeze while the ROTC cadets remained laser-focused, staring forward as they had the entire time. The sun rose higher into the sky as the music played, the heat growing on the crowd without a word rising from the whole area.

Before leaving, each attendee was called to lay a bright carnation with a long green stem on top of the memorial stone. A line formed, each person silently adding a flower to the colorful tapestry adorning the rock. Slowly, conversation started back up as the crowd dispersed.

For Brother Kevin Kriso, the event marked an improvement in attendance over recent years.

“It’s amazing, largest crowd I’ve seen in years,” said Kriso, who went on to comment on the memory of his friend, the Rev. Mychal Judge, OFM, the New York City Fire Department Chaplain who was the first confirmed death on 9/11.

Kriso came alive describing Judge and how his charisma and energy infected everything he did. With the passage of time, Kriso feels that the national mood around 9/11 has changed.

“In the beginning there was rage,"  Kriso said. "Now there’s only sadness.” 

For Kriso and the rest of America, that sadness may be a sign of healing.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Self-Defense Empowers Women

Real estate agent Mary Stachowicz fears becoming a victim of violence.

Why? Because she shows houses to groups of men by herself.

Stachowicz voiced those fears after the Jan. 27 “Beyond Self Defense Seminar” she attended at AKT Combatives Academy in Olean. And she said she believed that in order to overcome this fear, it would be valuable to learn self-defense.

“My son ...

The Story of Punxsutawney Phil

With Groundhog Day landing on Friday this year, thousands will watch in person and even more will tune in from home to see Punxsutawney Phil make his yearly prediction.

As legend has it, if Phil sees his shadow at dusk on Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter are on its way. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, and early spring can be expected.

Phil may very well be the world’s second ...

The Secret to a Positive Outlook in 2018: Stay Local

With each new year, the annual ritual of making resolutions brings promises, goals and hope for a brighter future.

In 2018, the key to that brighter future may lie in spending less time debating divisive political issues, reading troubling stories about sexual improprieties in the workplace and worrying about national economic trends that are beyond our control.

My advice? Spend a few less ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 17, 10:00 AM

Home Depot, Olean

Build a Bluebird Nest Box and Squirrel Corn Cob ...

Home & Garden

Sat, February 17, 11:00 AM

William O. Smith Recreation Center, Olean

Southern Tier Diesel Informational Meeting and ...


Sat, February 17, 11:00 AM

Home Depot, Olean

Build a Bluebird Nest Box and Squirrel Corn Cob ...

Home & Garden

Archbishop Walsh Academy Awarded International Baccalaureate Educator Grants

February 14, 2018

OLEAN, NY -- The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) has awarded three International Baccalaureate (IB) educator grants to teachers at Archbishop Walsh Academy. The funds, totaling $1500, will provide additional resources to IB educators seeking to deepen and enrich curriculum content and increase student engagement. NSHSS awarded twenty grants to ...

Exhibit Opening at JCC's Olean Campus Offers New Ways to Visualize Disease and Recovery

OLEAN, NY -- A new exhibition, titled “Artist/Patient/Advocate: Works by Elizabeth Jameson and Ted Meyer,” offers new ways of visualizing disease and recovery.

Opening Friday from 6-8 p.m. in the Center Gallery on the Jamestown Community College Olean campus, this exhibit features artwork that incorporates diagnostic brain scans, photographs and rubbings taken from body scars. Los ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...