Remembering the Heroes of September 11, 2001

A message to the Saint Mary's Community

by Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, Interim President | September 11, 2023

Like other watershed moments in history, the events of September 11, 2001 have left an indelible mark on our lives. The nation we love was attacked on our soil, killing nearly 3,000 Americans and leaving behind a legacy of trauma and confusion. 

That fateful day, the families of many of our fellow citizens were visited with lasting grief. As with previous generations who have carried the torch of remembrance following the great atrocities and wars of the 20th century, most of us who walk the grounds of Saint Mary’s today were not present to experience the horror of that day 22 years ago, but have heard the story told through feature films, documentaries, music, books, public events, and other elements of popular culture. These stories chronicle the magnitude of what occurred and keep that day forever in our collective memory.

At Saint Mary’s, we stand for hope and love in the face of those who would divide us with fear and hatred. 

An essential part of the September 11, 2001 story is the way we as a nation united to declare our unity and gratitude for our fellow Americans who rose up as heroes to overcome this evil. Firefighters, first responders, healthcare workers, community leaders, and countless volunteers of every stripe acted with a common purpose to support their fellow citizens without questioning or even caring about differences in race, religion, or political affiliation. The story of 9/11 must never be told without the part of the narrative that declares how being sisters and brothers to one another stood out above the pain and anguish of that day. 

Flag and rose

Recalling such a significant and historic event that elicited selfless and heroic actions should remind us of those who take on the responsibility of protecting us every day. Our campus safety personnel and our local fire and police officers stand ready and alert at a moment’s notice to come to our aid. This week would be a good time for each of us to express gratitude to the women and men who devote themselves to ensuring our safety.

A year after the events of September 11, 2001, the wife of pilot Jason Dahl—who died on the flight where crew and passengers stood up against and deterred hijackers from inflicting maximum destruction—commented, “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” These words ground us in a common belief that what brings a community together is not fear and hatred, but hope and love. At Saint Mary’s, we stand for hope and love in the face of those who would divide us with fear and hatred. 

On this day, the anniversary of what will forever be known as 9/11, we hold the memory of all who lost their lives in this violent attack against our nation. As a community, our hearts are moved, and we are resolved to assert the dignity of the human person that binds us together against such senseless acts of violence. We will never forget. 


Brother Thomas Jones, FSC

Interim President