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September 12, 2002

“We remember them”

Members of the University community placed 3,041 flags on the Cathedral of Learning lawn yesterday morning, each bearing the name and age of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as the flight number on which (or the location at which) that person died.

Three of the flags were adorned in blue and gold, honoring Pitt alumni killed in the attacks: Kevin Marlo, Margaret Quinn Orloske and Ludwig John Picarro.

"Today, across this great land — and, indeed, throughout the world — people are pausing to remember the terrible devastation that struck America one year ago," Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said during yesterday's "Flags for Heroes" ceremony, part of Pitt's day-long remembrance of 9/11/01.

"Today, we gather to honor those innocent victims who died as targets of the attacks," Nordenberg told the crowd, estimated at more than 2,000. "We gather to honor those heroes who died in valiant rescue missions. We gather to honor those who died in the plane that crashed here in western Pennsylvania because citizen passengers made the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives to prevent further devastation.

"Today, we also extend expressions of our collective support to those whose lives have been forever changed through the loss of loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001."

The chancellor commemorated each of the Pitt alumni killed in the attacks:

* Marlo was a 1995 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and was a member of Delta Tau Delta. "He was an associate director of equity sales at Sandler O'Neill and also was an aspiring actor," Nordenberg said. "His family and friends remember that 'he would do anything for people he loved.'"

* Orloske earned a master's degree in library science here in 1974. "She was a vice president with the insurance brokerage firm of Marsh McLennan, with her office on the 96th floor of the World Trade Center. She is remembered by her family and friends for her two greatest loves, creating gardens and uniting communities," the chancellor said.

* Picarro received his bachelor's degree from CAS in 1979 and was a senior vice president of the Zurich Insurance Company.

"On Sept. 11th, he was attending a business meeting on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center," Nordenberg said. "Family and friends said he was thrilled to be a part of the fast-paced energy of the international financial district, but he never let business interfere with attending his sons' sporting events."

In remembrance of all 3,041 victims, the chancellor read a passage from the Reform Judaism Prayerbook: "In the rising of the sun and in its going down, We remember them;

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, We remember them;

In the opening of the buds and in the warmth of summer, We remember them;

In the rustles of leaves and beauty of autumn, We remember them;

In the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them;

When we are weary and in need of strength, We remember them;

When we are lost and sick at heart, We remember them;

When we have joys we yearn to share, We remember them;

So long as we live, they too shall live, For they are now a part of us."

But yesterday was "not only about our losses, as devastating as they were," Nordenberg said. "It also is about our strength in going forward, and our renewed commitment to the spirit and principles on which this nation was founded."

He quoted 1936 Republic Party presidential nominee Wendell Wilkie: "I believe in America because in it we are free — free to choose our government, to speak our minds, to observe our different religions. Because we are generous with our freedom, we share our rights with those who disagree with us."

The chancellor also quoted from author William Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, delivered during the grimmest days of the Cold War: "I decline to accept the end of man….I believe that man will not merely endure: he will be an inexhaustible voice…because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."

The chancellor continued: "Faulkner also said that it is our duty 'to help man endure by lifting his heart [and] by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.'"

"Today," Nordenberg said, "we might begin by resolving to nurture those qualities in ourselves, to encourage those qualities in others, and to recognize that those very human qualities — qualities well within our reach — not only are the glory of our past but are the foundation of our future."

q Senate Council and the Staff Association Council (SAC) observed moments of silence for victims of Sept. 11. Attendees at the SAC meeting also sang "God Bless America."

At Senate Council, student leaders Kevin Washo and Jeff Alex presented a 9/11 memorial book to Nordenberg, Senate co-vice president Thomas Metzger and University Librarian and Director of the University Library System Rush Miller.

The book, which includes Pitt community journal entries reacting to Sept. 11 events, will be part of the University's permanent archives.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 2

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