Story by Courtney Muns, for The Muleskinner
Eleven years ago, life was put on pause for a moment. Classrooms, offices and households silently watched live news broadcasts and witnessed New York City in shambles as tragedy struck and the twin towers fell.
UCM’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony was at noon Tuesday. Students, faculty and staff members gathered around the quadrangle on campus to pay respects to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack, modestly observing the ROTC members, who stood tall and polished in uniform.
Commuters stopped to join in on the pledge of allegiance, placing their hands over their hearts and saluting the flag. Anna Kay, freshman music major, sang the National Anthem.
“Public ceremonies in remembrance of the men and women who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., have taken place at the university and in the Warrensburg community since the tragedy occurred,” Jeff Murphy, assistant director of Media Relations said.
The event was coordinated by UCM’s Office of Military and Veteran Services and Scott Ammon, assistant professor of safety sciences in the School of Environmental, Physical and Applied Sciences.
The ceremony commenced with President Charles Ambrose speaking on behalf of the student body, giving his thoughts to those who lost their lives 11 years ago, and welcoming speaker Larry Kay, the executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission.
Local firefighters, ambulance personnel, law enforcement, Whiteman Airforce Base members, and members of the Collegiate Firefighters Association were also present.
To honor the lives lost, the flag was lowered to half-staff by a member of ROTC, while a student from the UCM music department played Taps on his trumpet.
After the flag was lowered, members of ROTC shot a cannon as surrounding citizens remained silent and respectful.
Just before the ceremony ended, a member of the Collegiate Firefighters Association rang a bell in honor of the fallen comrades.
There were three sequences of five rings, which are used to announce the passing of a current or retired fire department member.
The tradition was established at the Official Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) as a telegraph signal to all city firehouses to lower the flag to half-staff after the death of a line-of-duty firefighter.
A prayer titled ‘The Fireman’s Prayer’ was also read at the ceremony, with sentimental stanzas that read, “And if according to thy will, that I must give my life, then with thy protecting hand my Lord, I pray thee, protect my children and my wife.”