UB remembers 9/11

UB held Wednesday service event to commemorate victims and families affected

The Spectrum

It's been 12 years since the planes fell out of the sky on that September day.

Do you remember where you were on 9/11?

Rolando Rabut, a sophomore architecture major, was in math class. He still remembers the smoke coming up by the windows and wondering if his parents were OK.

Like many UB students, he has not forgotten the attack.

Last Wednesday, an event was held in honor and remembrance of the victims, survivors and heroes of 9/11 in the Student Union. Though small in attendance, the morning was quiet and soothing to individuals who participated in the event.

There were two components to the service. The first was a project in which volunteers helped make lunches for under-resourced individuals in the Buffalo community. The second was making a reflection poster that was hung up in the Union for a large portion of the day. On the poster, people wrote why service is a good way to remember 9/11.

"Whenever you have a tragedy, there is no better way to memorialize or commemorate such wonderful people than to do service in their honor," said Rachel Di Domizio, a community engagement coordinator for the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement.

Di Domizio said each year, in honor of 9/11, there has been a volunteer project available for students. These projects always involve the community around Buffalo, though students who have ideas for other service projects are welcome to talk to her.

Some students are suggesting other ways to honor 9/11 victims and heroes.

Valerie Tapia, a sophomore mathematics major, was unaware of the day-of-service event. While community service is a great way to show respect for those affected by 9/11, she wanted to have a moment of silence.

Tapia was lucky. Her father was supposed to be delivering a package in the area when the planes hit. By chance, he had to go back to his company and retrieve it. Because of this, his life was saved.

Not everyone she knew had the same good fortune. One of her close friends lost his father to the attacks of 9/11.

"He didn't die from the actual collision because he got out in time. He ended up dying from the debris." Tapia said.

The air was so full of wreckage and dust that he could not get enough oxygen.

Rabut's best friend's mom was on a lower level. She was able to get out alive and safely, but many of her coworkers did not make it.

Confusion is still a distinct memory for those affected.

"I didn't know where my dad was," Rabut said. "I found out later that he was actually biking by the two towers."

Rabut didn't get to see his parents until 8 p.m. that night. They were both nurses, he explained, and they had to help at the hospitals.

Tapia revealed that the death of her friend's father affected his life in a large way. Seeing her friend's struggle makes her appreciative of a community service project for people in need.

She would like to see the whole school bow their heads for a few minutes to mourn the lost and to appreciate what we have.

She is not alone in her idea of having a moment of silence.

Whether it should be applied to the whole school, both Rabut and Tapia agree that this quiet moment would be meaningful to those who were affected by 9/11. While everyone may not understand the importance of the day to other students, Tapia suggested that the students who didn't understand could still pay their respects.

"If it's for a short amount of time, I think that they would just go along with it," Rabut said.

He believes a couple minutes would be enough to pay respects and mourn while not encroaching upon other students.

Both students have dealt with 9/11 on their own this week. Tapia has prayed and thought about those affected by 9/11 and Rabut sat a while paying his respects to those lost. These students both suggest that UB should make everyone aware that they are not alone on this day.

Tapia explained that the best way to help those remembering is to offer a shoulder to cry upon. She remembers how her friend who had lost his father would always visit the memorial and talk to his dad. On this day, she would simply be there for her friend.

"When you're dealing with 9/11, people think they're alone," Tapia said.

She thinks it's important for people to know they are not.

Email: features@ubspectrum.com