The campus community paused to remember those whose lives were lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. A brief ceremony was held on the 17th anniversary of the tragedy at the College’s 9/11 Memorial Site on the south side of the Whitney Applied Technology Center.
College President Dr. Casey Crabill recognized first responders for their heroic actions, including Dennis Burgos who worked in OCC’s Department of Public Safety. Seventeen years earlier Burgos was serving as a New York State Trooper when he was deployed to New York City in the hours after 9/11. Burgos contracted lung cancer as a result of his time spent near Ground Zero. After retiring as a State Trooper, Burgos worked at OCC for five years. He passed away last December.
Dr. Crabill also remembered Wendy Faulkner, a 1972 alumna and one of the College’s distinguished Alumni Faces honorees. Faulkner was a victim of the 9/11 attacks. Each year on the anniversary of 9/11, flowers are added to Faulker’s Alumni Faces etching in the Gordon Student Center.
September 11 was designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Dr. Crabill asked attendees to perform an act of kindness today. “Let us all do something special to help someone in honor of those whose lives were changed forever on that day,” said Dr. Crabill.
Rebecca Hoda-Kearse, OCC’s Associate Vice President for Student Engagement and Learning Support also spoke briefly. Hoda-Kearse was working in Manhattan on the morning of September 11. “As you can imagine, the aftermath was horrific but I wanted to share some of the beauty I witnessed. I saw people embracing each other like never before. The strength of the human spirit was evident. Millions of people bonded. We shall never forget that,” said Hoda-Kearse.
During the memorial ceremony Dr. David J, Rudari, D.M.A. sang the National Anthem and God Bless America. Music majors Jack Wiley (Watertown HS, 2012) and Andrew Kraeger (Notre Dame HS in Elmira, 2016) played “Going Home” at the beginning and end of the event.
Special thanks to OCC’s Sue Tormey for coordinating the annual event, OCC’s Facilities Department and grounds crew for maintaining the memorial site, the Onondaga Hill Fire Department and neighboring departments, and OCC’s Campus Safety for their service to our campus.