Community Memorial Service
Remarks by President Denise Trauth
September 11, 2002
September 11, 2001, was one of those moments in time that separates ‘then’ from ‘now.’ It separates who we were then from who we are now.
Faulkner said that you can’t say hello to something new until you say goodbye to something old. On September 11 we said goodbye to our complacency and our naivete. We Americans had led a charmed national life. We had experienced a degree of national security that is rare in the history of the world. September 11 took our innocence.
But as quickly as the towers fell, America rose. We discovered some things about ourselves. We discovered that our hearts can be broken without breaking our spirits. We discovered that we are reassured by the good hearts all over the world that broke with ours. We discovered that we are a noble people in times of crisis.
Today we are changed. We know that wounds heal but the deep ones leave scars. And we are scarred. We are changed and scarred every bit as much as the ground itself in Manhattan and Virginia and Pennsylvania. And we in San Marcos, Texas, are scarred as much at the people of New York and Washington, D.C.
But those scars brought with them the gift of a new kind of truth and consciousness. We know ourselves in a new way and see ourselves in a new light. We see how small the world is, that we are the world and the world is us. People in our own families and people half way around the world seem closer somehow. We no longer feel immune to cruelties the rest of the world endures. While we may, admittedly, have wanted revenge at first, we now want justice. We know that no amount of revenge will assuage our hurt and that revenge reduces us as a nation to the level of those motivated by hatred. We know that the ground beneath us has shifted and left us different.
But while we did not seek this change, we are better for it. We are less concerned with the superficial, with differences in race, politics, degrees, wealth, religion or native country. We are more compassionate, more vigilant, more connected to each other.
And that’s why we are here this morning. We are connected to people all over the nation and the world who pause today to remember. We are here to remember the horrors and the heroism of 2001, yes, but we’re also here to promise each other that we will never, ever, forget who we are and what connects us.