On Sept. 11, 2001, amid terror and grief, the Penn community—folks from all different walks of life—joined together as one on campus. Twenty years later, on an eerily similar sunny, blue-sky day, a feeling still weighing heavily in hearts, students and faculty members, along with staff and friends of Penn, gathered near the iconic Love Sculpture on Locust Walk with the same mission: to pay tribute to the precious lives lost, and commit to being united.
“The promise of lives cut short, the goodbyes that were never said, the immense possibilities of each and every person we lost: We grieve, and we remember,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann during Friday’s commemoration. “And we will always remember.”
Gathering just before the brief program began, people in the crowd—some just stumbling upon the event, others having etched it days ago into their planners—could be heard sharing stories with each other of where they were on 9/11. They described their fears, their feelings of confusion, and the gut-wrenching pain that is always too difficult to truly decipher. It was a day that undoubtedly changed everyone’s life in too many ways to count.