Members of the campus community gathered in front of the Darwin R. Wales Center on Friday, September 10th, 2021 to attend the remembrance ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the tragic events that occured on September 11, 2001.
In addition to SUNY Broome’s faculty, staff, and students, members of the local community came to campus to honor those who lost their lives two decades ago.
SUNY Broome’s President, Dr. Kevin Drumm, addressed the crowd in front of the campus’ flagpole, which was lowered to half staff. The ceremony began with a collective moment of silence, followed by a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” played on bagpipes by Rich Maloney, Mike Franz, and Ken Roe.
“Some may wonder why, after two decades, we continue to gather early in the morning to remember the events of 9/11. We gather, because we were simply asked to “never forget.” In honor of that request, as a community college, we are dedicated to remembering 9/11 with those who can… and are committed to revisiting this monumental piece of history with those who, due to age, cannot,” said Drumm.
Dr. Drumm proceeded to provide a solemn recap of that day for those without personal memories and thanked the first responders and members of the military for their unwavering service then, and now. “Thank you to the many first responders and essential employees who are here with us today. We appreciated your selfless work twenty years ago, and we are once again reminded of your commitment to the care of our community through your work during this unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the tragic storm which recently ravaged the nation from Louisiana to New York City, once calling on thousands of first responders in its wake… We are also pleased to provide assistance to our students and staff who are U.S. Veterans, dependents of veterans, or who serve in any of the U.S. military branches through our Veterans and Military Affairs Office located in the Student Services Building,” said Drumm.
Other speakers included Senator Fred Akshar, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, and Mike Marinaccio, Town of Dickinson Supervisor.
The ceremony concluded with a truly moving speech from Broome County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator, Raymond Serowik, and his wife Kathleen. Raymond and Kathleen lead a team of 56 people and 10 ambulances to “Ground Zero” 10 days after the attack. While they wholeheartedly echoched the previously stated sentiments of thanks to the first responders, they reminded all of those in attendance to remember the lay volunteers who felt compelled to spring into action. Serowik read aloud snippets from Kathleen’s personal memoirs from that time. He shared a story about a man from Massachusetts, who after learning about the attacks, drove to Manhattan to help in any way that he could. His help came by way of cleaning the bathrooms for the first responders. Though the job seemed insignificant, it was incredibly helpful and selfless. Serowik also encouraged us to think about the thousands of first responders and volunteers who survived the 9/11 attacks, but have since suffered from post-9/11 illnesses.
Dr. Drumm reminded the community that if 9/11 happens to fall on a weekend, SUNY Broome intentionally holds the remembrance ceremony on the Friday before, so that students have the opportunity to attend.