UH Veteran Services hosts 17th annual Sept. 11 memorial service
Robert Mackey, a veteran who served in the military in 2001 and helped in 9/11 recovery efforts, reenlisted Tuesday on the morning of the tragedy’s 17-year anniversary.
“I remember at ground zero everything was dark,” Mackey said when recalling the recovery efforts two days after the attack. “If you’ve been to New York, you know even at night everything is bright.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Quaeda members, leading to three attacks on the United States. Two planes hit the the north and south towers of the World Trade Center and another hit the Pentagon. The fourth, which was heading to Washington, D.C., crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers took back control from the hijackers.
University of Houston Veterans Services held a Sept. 11 memorial service Tuesday at Student Center South, allowing the UH community a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the attack 17 years ago.
The service also honored a solider who is reenlisting in the Navy after serving in the military in 2001.
“We all have a story about what we remember,” said the director of UH Veteran Services and master of ceremony, Celina Dugas, in her opening remarks.
Dugas spoke about how special this day was in American history and asked students and attendees to cherish every moment they had.
Seventeen years have passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Every year, UH hosts a memorial service to honor those involved in the tragedy.
Lining the path to the Student Center Theater, where the event was held, posters displayed the timeline of the events that led up to the attack.
The event featured several keynote speakers as well as the placing of a memorial wreath, the national anthem and a presentation of America’s colors by UH’s joint Military ROTC.
Chaplain William Cork led a prayer, asking those in attendance to remember those who had fallen at 9/11 and since.
“This was the first time in U.S. history that our destiny was not our choosing,” said chief of staff for the President’s Office at UH, Michael Johnson.
Johnson then went on to say how proud he was of the way Americans banded together after the tragedy.
“We have students here who are too young to remember — freshmen who were born after 9/11,” said Student Government Association Vice President Davis Mendoza Darusman. “It is important that we never forget what happened.”
The event was punctuated by the reenlistment of Robert Mackey, who was in the military during 9/11 and was part of recovery efforts made in the aftermath of the attack.
“It was a very respectful and appropriate event,” said Captain Leo Fischer. “Since Mackey took part in recovery efforts, it felt very appropriate to see him raise his hand today.”
Students and services members attended the event, but there were less than 20 people total in attendance.
“It was a somber moment,” Dugas said, “but it was so special and happy. I’m hoping this will get our students to remember and honor these folks.”