Mercyhurst ROTC hosts 9/11 memorial observance

Eva Mihelich, Contributing writer

On Sept. 11, Mercyhurst University ROTC organized an observance for the anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11.

With each year, less and less students coming into Mercyhurst University will have been alive on that day in 2001.

It is important that these memorial services continue in order to keep the national spirit alive that got the United States through such a dark time.

Fr. Jim Piszker, Mercyhurst University’s Chaplain, gave a brief but impactful speech at the observance, with the goal of expressing ‘sympathy and remembrance for those who lost their lives.’

“Think of it—those people went to work or went to the airport on a sunny September morning not knowing that it would be the last day of their lives. One cannot think of that and not be moved by it,” said Piszker.

When asked what message he wants to keep alive with each year passing after the tragedy, Piszker shared a beautiful sentiment that is needed in our country.

“Our differences are never as large as our need to be united as a nation,” said Piszker.

He then reflected on the bittersweet reality that it sometimes takes a tragedy to remind a country just how important unity is.

Piszker shares that the most touching part of the service for him was the professionalism and demeanor of ROTC cadets as they raised the flag.

Bethany Jentz and Caroline Courtney, both sophomore ROTC cadets, were a part of this touching moment in the observance.

Jentz shared that a part of the observance that touched her was seeing the number of veterans there as she was holding the American flag.

“It made me feel honored to be a part of something, and to have them kind of pass the torch to someone who’s just going into the army now. It made me realize the weight of what we were doing, and what we’re doing it for,” Jentz said.

“9/11 is an event that drastically changed the USA, and so many innocent lives were lost,” said Courtney, “we need to continue to honor all the people who lost their lives that day, and all the police officers and firefighters who climbed those stairs. It’s a huge inspiration for people going into the military now, and it’s extremely important to honor those lives.”

Jentz and Courtney both agree that Sept. 11, 2001 changed the entire course of the United States in terms of security, patriotism and motivations for joining the army or government forces.

Although it isn’t as difficult to talk about 9/11 with each year that passes, it is so important to honor those lives lost each year

because this was an event that we still see the effects of today.

In a country that is so divided right now, the need for unity is beyond necessary.

The remembrance of 9/11 reminds Americans that no matter how divided the nation may appear at times, we are all in it together, and honoring the lives lost reminds us of the depth of this nation.