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PCC remembers victims and heroes of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks
Photos and Story by Abe Proctor
Portland Community College observed the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in a ceremony at the Cascade Campus on Friday, Sept. 9. Representatives from the Portland Fire Bureau, the Portland Police Bureau, and the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue district joined PCC students, faculty, and staff for a solemn remembrance of the occasion. With the U.S. flag raised to half-mast, Cascade Campus President and native New Yorker Karin Edwards offered her reflections on the attacks, followed by remarks from College President Mark Mitsui.
A moment of silence was observed across the PCC District at 8:46 a.m., corresponding with the time that the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center tower 15 years ago. The ceremony was brought to a close by a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
“If we are to prevent another 9/11, it won’t be because we’re the richest nation on earth with the most powerful armed forces,” Edwards noted during her remarks. “It will be because we demonstrate to the world – through our warmth, through our commitment to human liberty, through our generosity and our love – that the narrow vision of terrorism and bigotry is hollow in comparison. That’s why it’s so important that we hold fast to these ties which bind us. That’s why it’s so important that we work with all our might to build a society free of bigotry, fear and intolerance. That’s why it’s so important that we remember that we are commanded to seek peace and to pursue it , and that’s why we are here today. Thank you for joining us in our pursuit.”
Mitsui remembered the brave emergency personnel that responded to the attacks.
“The first responders who lost their lives 15 years ago this morning acted on behalf of complete strangers,” Mitsui said. “They placed themselves into mortal danger not because they were acting to save loved ones, but because they were called to do so. They made it their life’s work to serve and protect the rest of us, knowing full well that one day they might be required to lay down their own lives so that others might live to see another day.
“We are also gathered in honor of those who serve our own communities here in Portland,” he continued, “as well as those who train here at this campus to shoulder this burden for the next generation. We thank you for your service, for your dedication, and for your willingness to give the last full measure of devotion to your community. You represent that which burns brightest within us, and you have our gratitude and respect.”