10th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial
September 12, 2011
We gather here today to remember and honor those members of the Stony Brook University family who lost their lives during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Ten years have passed, and for their surviving loved ones it has been ten years of longing and sorrow, missing them at birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and perhaps every second of every minute of every day.
Their profiles are in your program, two or three paragraphs, that, of course, cannot truly encapsulate a life, but really do help us see a person rather than just a name, and help us better appreciate the terrible loss.
Jean Andrucki, class of 1980, Port Authority employee, who called a friend and told them she was staying in the building until rescuers came to help an asthmatic colleague who could not make it down the stairs.
Fire Captain Billy Burke, class of 1980, who ordered his men out of the north tower, while he continued to search for people to rescue.
Steven Furman, class of 1982, the father of 4 young children who was devoted to his family, his religion and the people in his community—his sister said the more money he made, the more money he gave away.
Manika Narula, class of 2001, age 22 working her first job.
John Perry, class of 1985, a policeman, but also a lawyer, who was filing his retirement papers, intent on becoming a medical malpractice lawyer, but rushed to the scene when he heard of the attacks, and was lost in the collapse of the south tower while trying to help a woman escape.
The other 16 profiles are just as compelling, just as sad, but many are just as inspiring in what they tell us about our capacity as human beings for heroism in the face of catastrophe.
So read these profiles, because these were members of the Stony Brook University family, and we can be proud of them, and the lives they led, as we mourn what we as a University and we as a nation lost on that day. They were our treasured alums, for some of you they were friends, classmates, or family, who almost certainly at some time must have passed by this very spot on their way to Javits, little knowing that someday we would gather here to honor them and remember them.
So we do honor them, but we also know that our words today, this memorial, the infinite pools that will form a beautiful and solemn memorial at the site of each tower, and the proud structure at One World Trade Center that will rise 1776 feet high and say to the world we, America, will not be cowed or intimidated by terror, while they all matter, and they can comfort, none are adequate to heal the heartache or fully honor all who were lost and all who continue to suffer from that attack.
But I believe we can come closest when we honor them by honoring those things that mattered to them, that are abundantly clear from their profiles—they were remembered for their kindness, their love of family, their generosity, and their devotion to service, to helping others, even at the risk of their own life. Ten years ago their lives ended, we, the living, must work every day to make them matter.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD