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15 years later: Clemson honors 9/11 victims with memorial service

Clemson University commemorated the 15th anniversary of the nation’s deadliest terrorist attacks with a public memorial service on September 11 in Tillman Hall.
The event, coordinated by the Tiger Platoon, the Muslim Student Association and Blue Key honored the victims of 9/11 as well as local first responders and law enforcement. 
“Tiger Platoon decided to host this event because in recent years very little had been done at Clemson to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families…furthermore, early in our planning stages we actually discovered that Clemson had one alumnus killed in the 9/11 attacks named Jim White (class of ’89),” said Chase McCathern, commander of the Tiger Platoon. “We have been able to work with two of Jim’s closest friends dating back to their time as ATO fraternity brothers at Clemson (Wes Few and Clive Pearson) as well as others here at Clemson to honor Jim and tell his incredible story not only this year, but for many years to come as well.”
In the hours leading up to the event, Tiger Platoon members guarded a wreath dedicated to White. A police escort, followed by members of the Platoon, transported the wreath from Memorial Park to Memorial Auditorium for the service. 
During the service, several speakers, including Clemson Alumni Association President retired Col. Sandy Edge, President Emeritus James Barker and Dean of Students Dr. Chris Miller, addressed the crowd about 9/11 and its impact on the world and Clemson as well as the importance of the Clemson family.  
“It was such a turning point for our culture because it was the first time true terrorism struck home to the extent that it did. It also brought forth how other countries and cultures look at our culture,” said Dr. Peter Cohen, senior lecturer of religion and faculty advisor for the Hillel Jewish Student Association at Clemson who helped with planning the event. 
“It also helps us to remember that it was not the Muslim community that did this, but those within the community who are extremists. That’s why it’s important as part of this commemoration to underscore that…because Muslims died, Jews died, [people of] other religious traditions and nationalities died on that day. It changed the world in many respects.”
“One of the big problems we have right now in the world is that a lot of people see Muslims as not being victims to the terrorist attacks as well as other people,” said Hussain Bukhari, a member of the Muslim Student Association. “We thought it would be a good idea to bring in how Muslims are adversely affected by the attacks of 9/11 and how we’re all one together.”
Invocations were offered by members of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, and a moment of silence was held for the victims of the attacks. Afterwards, the service transitioned outside where a large American flag had been stretched out across Bowman Field. The memorial ended with the national anthem and a 21-gun salute. A reception, hosted by the Blue Key, followed afterwards. 
CUPD, CUFD/CUEMS, City of Clemson police, Muslim Student Association and Hillel Jewish Student Association also participated in the memorial service. 
However, the event wasn’t just about honoring those who lost their lives on that day. It was also about educating those who are too young to remember what happened.
“It is important to educate the younger generation about 9/11 because it greatly impacted our lives today and well beyond. 9/11 was the first major terrorist attack on US soil, and since then there have been many more. The threat of these attacks is now something that we must face and attempt to understand n a daily basis,” said McCathern. 
Added Hillel treasurer Rebecca Allen,“It’s like with the Jews and the Holocaust, none of us were around, but we can’t forget that it happened because it 
was such a monumental event. By taking a moment to remember it, it helps 
cement it in our minds because even though we weren’t there, it still affects us. It’s important to get all of the different perspectives on an event that shaped how we live today.”
The Tiger Platoon hopes to make the memorial service an annual event and is 
also in the process of having a monument erected for Jim White. Once the monument is erected, the Platoon plans to guard the monument every year on September 11 in honor of White and others who lost their lives during 9/11. 

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