[BELLS RINGING] [MUSIC - "STAR SPANGLED BANNER"]
HUNTER RAWLINGS III: Today is a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. We have come here in a memorial convocation to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the sacrifices made by police, fire, medical, and other rescue workers, and to express Cornell's sorrow in the face of this national tragedy. As they have all week, Cornellians have again gathered today to mourn the losses suffered by numerous families and friends and to demonstrate our support in helping them cope with profound personal grief.
Cornell is united in its response to the events of this week, Cornell is united in its condemnation of terrorism, and Cornell is United in sympathy for the innocent victims of violence and hatred. We are an open academic community within a free democracy. Like our country, we welcome the people of the world to our campus, we prize our diversity, and we learn from our differences.
When Ezra Cornell founded this University he said, "Memorably and unequivocally, I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." This institutional commitment to openness and diversity is the reason why so many individuals from every corner of the United States and every country in the world come to learn and to live together at Cornell. We also share certain core values that epitomize the principles upon which the United States of America was founded.
Free and open inquiry, wherever it may lead, free and open expression for all members of the community, respect for the ideas of others, integrity and responsibility in the search for and the teaching and publication of knowledge. We distill these values in one central phrase, academic freedom, which is the university's version of the civil liberties afforded by our Constitution. In the midst of this week's tragic events, it is essential that we reaffirm Cornell's core value of academic freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.
What can we do to help the nation bind up its wounds? We will do what we do best. Educate our students in open classrooms and campus-wide teach-ins. Conduct our research and scholarship in open laboratories and libraries, and publish our work in open journals and airways. That is the best response to the evil of terrorism which lives in secret and thrives on hatred.
Terrorism is the negation of freedom and responsibility. Cornell is a beacon of freedom and responsibility.
This campus has distinguished itself in the past four days by its mature and caring response to a local, state, and national tragedy. We have seen many random and concerted acts of kindness. We have heard many offers of generosity, and we have felt staunch conviction in the principles of academic and civil freedom.
Let me cite the action of the Student Assembly, which yesterday pledged $45,000 from the fund Students Helping Students, for Cornell students who have suffered directly from Tuesday's tragedy. I commend as well the University faculty committee, which endorsed the creation of a Cornell Disaster Relief Fund for all Cornell victims of September 11. I also appreciate the numerous, the countless efforts of the Cornell staff to offer their personal assistance at all hours of the day and night to everyone on our campus.
Keep it up. Continue your work, but with a heightened sense of community and sensitivity and with a stronger belief in the democratic values embodied in Cornell University and the United States of America. They will endure and they will prevail.
It is now my pleasure to introduce Professor Walter Lefeber the Marie Underhill Noel Professor of American History Emeritus, Professor Lefeber.
WALTER LEFEBER: Thank you, Hunter. These past days of remembrance and prayer have tragically but necessarily been interrupted by constant declarations that we are now in a new war. The first war-- as it is being called-- of the 21st century. We as a people, as well as a government, should on this day of remembrance remember why this war will be fought.
We should remember-- as well as mortals are able-- why thousands have already died in this war and why many more will lose their lives in the immediate future because of this war. We remember when we must that the United States is the world's most powerful nation. Militarily strong, while others feel defenseless.
Rich, while others are poor. Culturally dominant, while others fear the loss of their ancient traditions. We should remember from a long study of a long history that these disparities will inevitably change. If we are fortunate, wise, and if we remember, we will help guide that change, rather than having the changes imposed on us.
We remember that founders of this country rightly warned that a republic cannot be both ignorant and free. 200 years later, in a time of instant mass communication and disappearing borders, we remember that this insight of the founders means that we cannot be both ignorant of other peoples and remain free, that we cannot be intolerant of great cultures and races with which we share a shrinking planet and remain free, and that we cannot surrender centuries old constitutional principles, especially in the checks on the power of each branch of government and remain free.
Not for the first time in the lives of many of us here we are told that this must be a new kind of war, because now, we are told we are in a new world. And in many important ways, we are, indeed, in a new world. We who can or who have studied the history remember that we were in a new world with the end of the Cold War a decade ago, and so were we in a new world with the instant deaths of 140,000 people at the dawn of the atomic age in 1945.
But in this new world of 2001, we remember that certain fundamentals tested over time must remain so they can serve as the guideposts and the protection that each of us requires in this new world. And we remember above all that these fundamentals are the precise reasons why we shall be fighting this new war. We remember that every American community, but especially the University and the government, has had the sacred responsibility to reveal, to protect, and yet to continue to test the fundamentals of that freedom.
As we mourn the victims of the September 11th tragedies, we can fall too easily and unconsciously into grieving as well for the passing of a certain American innocence and supposed security. We must therefore always mourn these victims of the new war and we must remember them, not least because they warn us, that innocence and ignorance of others have no place in a new world where technology makes those others our immediate neighbors.
And because we remember that their deaths will have been in vain if they result in a war which will necessarily be long and costly in which we do not remember the fundamental values of our individual rights and above all our individual obligation to a larger community for which we fight this new war, for which so many have died, and for which others will give their lives in the future.
HUNTER RAWLINGS III: I'd like now to introduce Jessica Heley who is a senior theater arts major at Cornell. Jessica.
JESSICA HELEY: I'll be reading from the poem "Easter Morning" by the late Archie Ammons who was a Professor here at Cornell. "I have a life that did not become, that turned aside and stopped, astonished. I hold it in me like a pregnancy or as on my lap a child, not to grow or to grow old, but dwell on. The child in me that could not become, was not ready for others to go.
To go on and to change, blessings, and horrors, but stands there by the road where the mishap occurred crying out for help. Come and fix this or we can't get by. But the great ones who were to return, they could not or did not hear and went on in a flurry, and now, I say in the graveyard, here lies the flurry.
No, it can't come back with help or helpful asides. Now, we all by the bitter incompletions. Pick up the knots of horror silently raving and go on crashing into empty ends, not completions, not rondures, the fullness has come into and spent itself from.
I stand on the stump of a child, whether myself or my little brother who died, and yell as far as I can. I cannot leave this place. For me, it is the dearest and the worst. It is the life nearest to life which is life lost. It is my place where I must stand and fail, calling attention with tears to the branches not lofting boughs into space.
To the barren air that holds the world that was my world. Though the incompletions and completions burn out standing in the flash high burn momentary structure of ash, still, it is a picture book, letter perfect, Easter morning. I have been for a walk.
The wind is tranquil, the brook works without flashing in abundant tranquility. The birds are lively with voice. I saw something I had never seen before. Two great birds, maybe eagles, black winged white necked and headed came from the South, oaring the great wind steadily.
They went directly over me high up and kept on due North, but then one bird, the one behind, veered a little to the left and the other bird kept on, seeming not to notice for a minute. The first began to circle, as if looking for something. Coasting, resting its wings on the downside of some of the circles.
The other bird came back, and they both circled, looking perhaps for a draft. They turned a few more times, possibly rising at least clearly resting then flew on, falling into distance till they broke across the local bush and trees. It was a site of bountiful majesty and integrity.
The having patterns and roots. Breaking from them to explore other patterns or better ways to roots and then the return. A dance sacred as the sap in the trees, permanent in its descriptions as the ripples around the brooks ripple stones.
Fresh as this particular flood of burn breaking across us now from the sun."
HUNTER RAWLINGS III: Thank you, Jessica. Those were the words of Archie Ammons, Cornell poet, extraordinaire. Let me now introduce Ken Clarke, who is the director of Cornell United Religious Work. Ken?
KENNETH CLARKE: Join with me, if you will, in a moment of prayer. Eternal God, our hearts and thoughts and prayers reside with those who mourn. With those who wait. With those whose hope of hearing good news grows dim.
With the people of this country whose national life has been irrevocably altered. By the tragedies of September 11th in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. We express our grief, our fear, our anger, our anxiety, our sorrow, our vulnerability. We ask for forbearance, integrity, and discipline so that we do not vent these emotions against brothers and sisters of varying faiths, varying cultures, varying communities, whether Muslim or Arab, Jewish or African, Asian or Palestinian.
We pray instead that we might be inspired by the countless examples of men, women, boys, and girls across this land, indeed, across the world who have offered help assistance, comfort, compassion, love, and support. We pray that from the ashes of these horrible events of September 11th there will emerge a Phoenix undergirded by the winds of justice and truth, peace and understanding, respect and acceptance.
It is our prayer that these wins, these winsome virtues, and not the winds of war will build the greatest memorial we can erect to the many thousands now gone. Amen. Please join with me now in a moment of silence.
(SINGING) Sleep. Sleep tonight. And may your dreams be realized. If the thunder cloud passes rain. So let it rain, rain down on him.
So let it be. So let it be. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep tonight. And may your dreams be realized.
If a thunder cloud passes rain, so let it rain. Let it rain. Rain on him.
[MUSIC- "ALL MY TRIALS"]
All my trials Lord soon be over. Too late, my brothers. Too late, but never mind.
All my trials are soon be over. No, hush little, baby, don't you cry. You know that man was born to die.
All my trials are soon be over. Too late, my sisters. Too late but never mind. All my trials Lord soon be over. All my trials Lord soon be over.
SCOTT TUCKER: We're privileged in the Ithica community to have with us a man who himself has seen a great deal of tragedy, having fled his homeland of Uganda and then come to settle here in Ithaca with us. He's a man of tremendous talent, an international musician. Sami Arradondo, and I'd like him to introduce the next Song.
SAMITE MULONDO: The next song that we are going to sing for you and with you it's called [NON-ENGLISH] is how you ask, who is out there? When you're in trouble, when you feel like everything is falling apart, the only thing you have is the people around you, and it's important to reach out and ask, who is out there?
Together, you'll be strong. And together, you'll be able to go through a difficult time. So just remember to sing [NON-ENGLISH] we tell you to sing with us.
[SINGING IN UGANDAN]
Can you please join us by singing [NON-ENGLISH] Everybody. You sing [INAUDIBLE].
[SINGING IN UGANDAN]
Just raise your hand, everybody.
[SINGING IN UGANDAN]
HUNTER RAWLINGS III: We conclude the service today with the evening song. If you know the words, please sing. If you know the tune, please hum.
[MUSIC- "EVENING SONG"]
(SINGING) When the sun fades far away in the crimson of the west. And the voices of the day murmur low and sing to rest. Music with the twilight falls o'er the dreaming lake and dell.
"Tis an echo from the walls of fair Cornell. Welcome night and welcome rest, fading music fare thee well. Joy to all we love the best, love to thee our fare Cornell. Music with the twilight falls o'er the dreaming lake and dell. 'Tis an echo from the walls of our own of fare Cornell.
I look out and I see many friends, many colleagues from the Cornell community. I thank you all for everything you have done this week and you will continue to do in the coming weeks. Now, turn and greet each other, and offer each other your help, your support, your best wishes. Thank you all for coming.
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A campus-wide memorial service was held at Cornell on September 14, 2001 in memory of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks three days prior. It was the largest single gathering for a memorial service in the history of Cornell University.