Carolina Service Council event sees small turnout
About five students gathered in the Gambrell Hall auditorium Wednesday night for a documentary viewing and discussion to reflect on and remember the 9/11 attacks, their aftermath and their effects on students and the United States as a whole.
The event, put on by the Carolina Service Council as a part of the group's 9/11 service challenge, which features a number of community service activities and opportunities for reflection, runs until the Sept. 12.
The conversation, which began at 8 p.m. and continued for an hour, opened with a video showing images and news videos of the attacks on New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania; the victims; and the aftermath.
The students and professor who attended shared their stories about where they were when they learned about the attacks and how they reacted, both then and today. Hal French, professor emeritus of religious studies, recounted the story of his wife's youngest daughter, who was visiting lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks, as she sought safety and a way to contact her family. She witnessed New Yorkers covered in dust and ash performing selfless acts of goodwill.
That goodwill and the sense of unity among Americans was the commanding theme of the evening, which also included videos describing the influx of volunteers into New York following 9/11 and the attempts of Americans and others around the world — as Hayley Elia, a fourth-year public health student and coordinator of the 9/11 Service Challenge, put it — to leave "a positive legacy on the losses they felt."
The Carolina Service Council has stepped into that role, with a huge expansion of its 9/11 service initiative from the trip to Harvest Hope Food Bank it hosted last year to a full array of letter-writing, supply drives and events promoting volunteering.
"It's small," said Carolina Service Council's president, Christina Galardi, a fourth-year public relations student, "but an improvement from last year."
The 9/11 Service Challenge also puts an evident focus on community, as its events encourage community service both throughout and including the university community.
That focus was reflected by Jeff Parness, founder and chairman of the New York Says Thank You Foundation, who spoke in a video shown Wednesday night: "People should stop and remember ... not only what happened on 9/11 but what happened on 9/12," as unity and selfless service emerged from the attacks' rubble.