Sunday, September 11, 2011

On behalf of the University of Iowa, I offer you greetings and thanks at this very special event.

Today is a day about memory. We are remembering that dark and terrible day a decade ago when violence blasted our lives and thousands of people died. We invoke the memory of where we were and what we felt when we heard about the Twin Towers and Pentagon being hit, and when the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. We invoke the memory of those thousands of people who died as a result of this unspeakable violence on that ironically beautiful September day. We invoke the memory of all whose lives have been affected in the ten years since—the families who lost loved ones on that day, the first responders who saved lives at personal peril yet also have suffered physical and mental harm because of their heroism, those who have fallen ill or died since as a result of the many harms that day, those who have served our country—and especially those who sacrificed their lives—far away from home in tragedy’s wake.

The Greek tragedian Aeschylus wrote, “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” As we move forward into the second decade past 9/11, we hope these memories will birth wisdom. We hope that this wisdom will lead us to peace and reconciliation. We hope that wisdom, peace, and reconciliation will help us make many human failings only memories themselves. We hope that violence, hatred of others, terror, and war will become but memories across the human landscape.

As an institution of higher learning, the University professes the values of diversity, respect, acceptance, and understanding through knowledge. We will continue to play our part in creating a world where the horrors of September 11, 2001, as well as its tragic causes and effects, are only memories.