USD community comes together to understand peace

Photo Courtesy of Tayler Reviere Verninas/The Vista

Photo Courtesy of Tayler Reviere Verninas/The Vista

by Tayler Reviere Verninas | Arts & Culture Editor 

On Friday, Sept. 11 the campus community of University of San Diego engaged in a day of reflection and dialogue for the tragic events that occurred 14 years ago. Members of the community reflected on the two airplane attacks on the Twin Towers, the third plane crash into the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crash into a plain in Pennsylvania as a result of passengers trying to overcome the hijackers.

Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) rendered honors and played “Taps” during the exact times that the four planes crashed.

These “Taps” were presented at 8:45 a.m. in commemoration of American Airlines crashing into the North Tower, 9:03 a.m. in honor of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower, 9:37 a.m. in remembrance of the American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon, 9:59 a.m. when the World Trade Center’s South Tower collapsed, 10:03 a.m. when the United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and 10:28 a.m. in commemoration of the collapse of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Senior Jack Roccatto, who is the Midshipman First Class for NROTC, was in attendance at the commemoration ceremony.

“Every year since 2001 I have either attended or participated in a 9/11 memorial service,” Roccatto said. “My dad was supposed to be in one of the top floors of the first building to be hit, but his meeting got cancelled. Thinking of all those Americans who weren’t as incredibly lucky as my dad led me to join both my local fire department and eventually the Navy as a midshipman in NROTC San Diego. For me, 9/11 is a day to remember, pray, and reflect.”

Roccato believes it is extremely important that USD continues to recognize and remember 9/11.

“Just like any other historical event, there is so much to learn by remembering what happened on 9/11,” Roccatto said.  “We should, at any cost, avoid a tragedy like that from ever occurring again.  Commemorating 9/11 also helps us all to remember that sacrifice that many people make every day to lead us away from a tragedy like that from ever happening again.”

After the memorial ceremony, members of the USD community attended the Interfaith Prayer for Peace.  Islamic, Muslim, and Christian prayers were recited during the prayer service.

Senior Rio Sastraputera had the privilege of delivering the Islamic prayer.

“I volunteered to be a reader because it was a big event that impacted a lot of people that makes you really consider what peace really means,” Sastraputera said. “Since 9/11 was caused by Islamic extremists, it brings to the center that no matter what religion you practice or believe in, the overall message of peace is the purpose.”

Sastraputera really appreciated the community being present that day, but recognized that people are still far from appreciating peace in the United States.

His reflection leads to an important inquiry about uniting under traumatic circumstances, and whether attending these ceremonial events will bring America to a closer understanding of peace as a community.