SHU students and staff reflects on 10 years of memory

“Save us from the vengeance in our hearts and the acid in our souls,” said Sister Maureen O’Brien in her opening prayer. This was the commencement of Seton Hill University’s (SHU) remembrance service for the victims of 9/11.


Held on Fri., Sept. 9, the ceremony lasted two hours and included many testimonies, special music, candle lighting and refreshments. With roughly 30 people in attendance, the atmosphere was solemn as the SHU community came together to reminisce.

Balazs Tarnai, assistant professor of education, performed a song from the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.”

“For I know I shall find my own peace of mind, for I have been promised a land of my own,” sang Tarnai.  Tarnai contributed three pieces to the ceremony.

A slideshow ran for the length of the presentation. It was created by sophomore Jalen Gumbs, who serves as photo editor for “The Setonian.” The slideshow included photos of the impacts in New York City, the anti-terrorism memorial and first responders. There was also a computer set up for attendees to contribute to the live feed on the SHU blog.

“I sent an email at 10:18…couldn’t get through on the phone. I am okay, will be back in touch when I can,” said Jack Ciak, assistant professor of communications. In his testimony, he related his story of being in Manhattan when the attacks occurred. “You just didn’t know,” said Ciak, referring to the scariest part of the event.

In a similar recollection, “The sky had a really different color to it, buildings still smoldering after two days,” said Dan Bernstein, associate professor of hospitality and tourism. He, too, was in the Manhattan area during the attacks as a professor. Many students and faculty were affected by the events.

The final testimony came from Administrative Assistant Pam Merlino. Her story came from her in-laws, describing what the impact in Shanksville felt like. “They let out a blood-curdling scream. There was a bright flash and the whole house shook,” said Merlino. Their house was just over the hill from where Flight 93 went down in Somerset County.

“Open our hearts and reflect on this 10th anniversary of intense violence. Forgiveness, reconciliation and peace among the entire family. Amen, “ said Sister O’Brien. This prayer concluded SHU’s remembrance service held in honor of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.


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