SUNY Oneonta honored its seven alumni who died in the 9/11 attacks at a remembrance ceremony Wednesday in front of the university’s 9/11 Memorial.
Members of the University Police Department began the ceremony with a procession, which was streamed live on the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association’s Facebook page.
SUNY Oneonta’s World Chorus sang the national anthem, according to the event program. Odalis Galeano Umana and Luke Sheridan, both of the SUNY Oneonta class of 2020, laid a wreath at the memorial, followed by music from the SUNY Oneonta brass and woodwind ensemble.
SUNY Oneonta’s 9/11 memorial, a replica of the Twin Towers, is next to Fitzelle Hall. It was dedicated in 2002, said Laura Lincoln, director of the Office of Alumni Engagement, and renovations were made possible by a donation from 1981 alumnus John Jermyn.
Recipients of the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association’s 2019-2020 memorial scholarships placed flowers at the base of the memorial. This year’s recipients, all listed in the program as graduating in 2020 or 2021, are Elizabeth Holmes, Daniel Ioos, Abdourahman Jallow, Rebecca Lowenstein, Kelsey Negron, Lianne Palais and Rachel Travis.
After another performance by the university’s brass and woodwind ensemble, and a procession by police, the event ended in just under eight minutes. Some of the crowd lingered at the memorial to reflect.
SUNY Oneonta sophomore Jessie Triller said the ceremony was especially moving for her because her uncle died on 9/11. Looking at the program, she said she noticed other alumni had worked at the same company that her uncle did.
Triller said she was also taken aback by how young the alumni were, such as Lynne Irene Morris, who’d graduated from college in 2000. At the time of the attacks, Morris was working at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm whose headquarters were in the North Tower of the original World Trade Center.
“They were just starting,” Triller said. “It’s just horrible.”
Ryan O’Reilly, captain of the Oneonta State Emergency Squad, said the squad comes to the memorial every year to honor the alumni and emergency service providers that died on 9/11.
“(We’re) just paying our respects to the people that came before us, who did the roles that now we’re doing,” he said.
University Police Officer Cliff Brunner, Jr. said he believes the day is about more than just remembrance.
“It’s honoring everyone that was not only injured, hurt or killed, but their relatives that are still living with the event, even though it was 18 years ago,” he said.
University Police Officer Maria Naughton said she still has vivid memories of trying to call family and friends that worked in New York City to make sure they were safe. She said she’s been involved with the ceremony for three or four years and that it was nice to see a larger crowd this year.
“For me this is a ceremony that, god willing, I will do until I retire,” she said. “Every year.”
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.