Barry McNamara  |   Published September 07, 2021

Remembering 9/11

Sept. 14 panel to discuss how 9/11 attacks changed the world.

9/11 MEMORIAL: Donated by the Class of 2002, it was the site of a ceremony five years ago, markin... 9/11 MEMORIAL: Donated by the Class of 2002, it was the site of a ceremony five years ago, marking the 15th anniversary of 9/11.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Simply put, Sept. 11, 2001, is the day the world changed.

That will be a point made, among many, during “9/11: Twenty Years Later,” a Monmouth College panel discussion at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 in Mellinger Commons on the lower level of the Center for Science and Business.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to wear a mask.

Prior to that discussion, the College will remember 9/11 on two other days.

At a time and location still to be determined on Sept. 10, the Office of Religious and Spiritual will host a Vigil of Remembrance. The event will be a time of reflection, quiet meditation, interfaith readings and music from College faculty members Tom Clark and Solee Lee-Clark.

On Sept. 11, the College will hold a service at 10 a.m. in front of its 9/11 memorial, located south of the tennis courts and behind Graham Hall and Pattee Hall. The brief program will include a reading, remarks from speakers and an opportunity for audience members to create a piece of art inspired by the memorial. Monmouth’s Class of 2002 donated the memorial..

Also on Sept. 11, all first responders and active and retired military personnel will be recognized before the start of the Monmouth’s football game against Grinnell College, which is set for 2 p.m. at April Zorn Memorial Stadium.

At the Sept. 14 panel, Monmouth faculty representatives from four academic disciplines will analyze “the historical place of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in American history,” said Monmouth political science Andre Audette, who helped organize the event. “The panel will consider what 9/11 means for the United States looking back 20 years and what we’ve learned from it and what we can still learn from it for life today.”

“This is a unique event in that it impacts us politically, socially, culturally – it’s something that really touched on so many aspects of American life.” — Andre Audette

The panelists will include history professor Valerie Deisinger, psychology professor Sydney Greenwalt, political science professor Michael Nelson and communication studies professor Joel Reed.

“This is a unique event in that it impacts us politically, socially, culturally – it’s something that really touched on so many aspects of American life,” said Audette.

He said thinking deeply about 9/11 means considering such philosophical ideas as “the way that we think about humanity, and how we interact with each other, and what is the purpose of the state, and of freedom, and how do we secure liberty in the most appropriate way possible.”

Along with such events as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the moon landing, “this was one of those moments that everyone remembers where they were,” said Audette. “If you ask anyone of this generation, they have very vivid memories of what they were doing when they first heard that the world had changed.”

But not today’s generation of Monmouth College students.

“One of my favorite icebreakers to use in class is to ask, ‘What is your earliest political memory?’” said Audette. “When I first started teaching, 9/11 was everyone’s first political memory. That slowly faded over time, and now most students either were too young to have truly understood what was going on or may have been born after 9/11. So for them, 9/11 is an historical event.”

Audette has a ready reply for his 9/11 memory.

“I was in my sixth grade homeroom classroom,” he said. “We were watching the news on television. We did that pretty regularly in the mornings. The first plane had already hit the World Trade Center. We were watching the news live when we saw the second plane hit. At that moment, I think the school also felt that the world had changed. We dropped everything that we had planned for the day. … We tried to have math class, but by the time the first tower fell, we knew we had to go back to the news and basically just spent the whole day just trying to process what had happened.”

Listen Up …

Political science professor Andre Audette previews 9/11 panel, discusses how day shaped a generation. (Interview begins at 6:08 mark of 1853 Podcast.)

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