ECU student Emily Dinterman, public relations chair for the ECU College Republicans, takes a break to photograph the flags set out for the 9/11 remembrance on campus. (Photos by Joshua Vaughan)

ECU students host 9/11 memorial events

Sept. 11, 2015

By Kelly Setzer
ECU News Services

Even though most were in elementary or pre-school when the tragedy happened, East Carolina University students organized opportunities to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On Friday at sunrise, the ECU College Republicans and other student volunteers set up more than 2,900 flags representing the many lives lost 14 years ago. The 9/11 Never Forget Memorial event began at 8 a.m. at the Mendenhall Student Center Brickyard and featured comments from Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy and Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas.

“Hidden in all the pain and sorrow that we felt there is undeniably something to celebrate. We can celebrate that America is still a land of opportunities and freedoms,” Hardy said. “We embrace the way of life that makes this the greatest nation on earth. And this allows us to never forget.”

Senior Ajay Purswani, an information computer technology major and chairman of the ECU College Republicans, organized the event.

“I was 8 years old and in the third grade at the time of the attack,” Purswani said. “Seeing footage of the planes flying into the buildings and watching the buildings fall shattered any invincible, secure feeling that a typical 8-year-old had.”

He wants future students to continue honoring the memory of fellow Americans, realizing the true impact of the events on that day.
(Video courtesy of University Communications)

“It’s important to memorialize this day because the tragedy of 9/11 has completely transformed how, as a nation, we approach a host of foreign and domestic issues,” he said.

Also held on Friday was a Day of Remembrance ceremony at Mendenhall hosted by the ECU Office of Leadership and Service Learning. Speakers included Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Erik Kneubuehl and Greenville Chief of Police Ted Sauls.

Student volunteers will participate in the 9/11 Day of Service on Saturday throughout Pitt County. Organizations such as Food Bank of Central and Eastern Carolina, Making Pitt Fit Community Garden and the Pitt County Animal Shelter will accommodate students in serving the community.

“With this 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, we hope to remember those whose lives were lost in the attacks on 9/11 and honor them by spreading the spirit of unity within and among the ECU and Greenville community,” said Jade Umberger with the ECU Leadership and Learning office.

To learn more about the national 9/11 Day of Service, visit https://911day.org/.