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Hillsdale stu­dents and faculty gather near Central Hall to honor the victims of 9/11. Christian Yiu | Col­legian

Hillsdale College stu­dents, faculty, and local ser­vicemen gathered together Tuesday afternoon in order to honor the memory of victims in the ter­rorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Hillsdale chapter of Young Amer­icans for Freedom held a their Never Forget 9/11 Project, a cer­emony of remem­brance for the heroes of that fateful fall morning. A group of stu­dents gathered by the flagpole near the Civil War statue. Assistant Pro­fessor of Man­agement Peter Jen­nings gave a speech, while Chaplain Adam Rick offered a prayer and presided over a time of silence.

“[9/11] became — sud­denly, unex­pectedly — the darkest day of our gen­er­ation,” Jen­nings said in his address. “Our beloved land of liberty was under attack. Those who sur­vived have our mem­ories, shared mem­ories.”

Gathered around the flagpole, the memorial included a moment of silence, fol­lowed by student musi­cians playing taps as an honor to those who died in the ter­rorist attacks.

Even after 17 years, Jen­nings said the memory of 9/11 chal­lenges how we think about service and patri­otism. Our post-9/11 gen­er­ation, he said, does not think about serving in the mil­itary in the same way college stu­dents did during the Civil War or in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our nation has always depended on patriotic cit­izens to vol­unteer in service of America.

“That patriotic service, if not lost, is shriveled,” he said. “There are few people willing to teach respect of the flag.”

Senior Mar­garet Odell, vice pres­ident of Hillsdale YAF, believes remem­bering 9/11 is “vitally important” because her gen­er­ation takes freedom for granted, she said in an email.

“We have grown up in priv­ilege and comfort, and we need to be taken out of that space and brought to the serious reality of the sac­ri­fices made so that we can con­tinue to live in the comfort we have always known,” she said.

Odell said she chose Jen­nings as the speaker because he had given talks to YAF pre­vi­ously and was “a voice of lead­ership and service on this campus.”

The annual remem­brance of that Sep­tember day, Rick said, is part of how Amer­icans heal.

“Anytime human beings expe­rience a trauma, you need to talk about it,” he said. “We forget things very quickly. We have to teach the next gen­er­ation.”

Tragedies happen in the world, he said, but we can’t try to find a simple answer to the trav­esties that happen.

“God doesn’t give us an easy answer,” he said. “God is big enough to handle our cries. Don’t resort to easy answers.”