By MATTHEW BULTMAN
POTSDAM - Nearly a decade ago, the country was brought together as millions mourned the senseless act of terrorism that shook the nation.
This weekend, millions will again come together to remember the fallen and celebrate the heroes of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and in Washington D.C.
A small crowd gathered Friday at Clarkson University in front of the university's memorial, a series of rusted steel beams recovered from the site of the World Trade Centers, to pay tribute and reflect on the events that changed a nation.
University leaders spoke of hope, resiliency and the need to never forget the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives that day, not only this weekendbut in upcoming months and years.
“It is 10 years later and when we look again at those heart wrenching images of that catastrophic day it is hard to think that we would ever take them for granted,” Clarkson University President Anthony G. Collins said.
“It is our duty to remember them today, in another decade, and in another decade.”
As dozens of locals reflected upon the events of Sept. 11, leaders also encouraged listeners to take strength from the events of that day.
Despite the attempts of these terrorists to cripple the nation's spirits and resolve, the country responded in the most positive way, rallying around the events and coming together as one, they said.
“This Sunday, as we reflect on our nation's darkest day, let us remember too the decade that has followed,” Stephen I. Newkofsky, Clarkson's associate vice president for Alumni Relations, said.
“How we refused to bow to fear and fanaticism and how we united to bring that city and our county back.”
While the university's campus lies nearly 350 miles from the site of the attack, the events that day hit close to home for a number of faculty, students and alumni at Clarkson.
Four university graduates, Peter A. Klein, Class of '87; Paul R. Hughes, Class of '85; Richard J. O'Connor, Class of '75;and R. Mark Rasweiler, Class of '70; lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center.
With their names etched into the foundation of the steel memorial, Mr. Newkofsky said their legacies will forever be memorialized on the Clarkson campus.
“Though we are a small campus community with an alumni family of 37,000, we were not spared or sheltered from the loss that day,” Mr. Newkofsky said. “We will always hold these former Clarkson students in a very special place in our hearts and on this campus. This memorial will stand to keep their legacy alive as a physical reminder of their sacrifice.”
Clarkson alumnus Michael Bielowa was called to Ground Zero to supervise the clean-up efforts and after working at the site for three weeks, helping to clear debris and recover bodies, Mr. Bielowa was so moved by his experience he requested the city donate steel from the World Trade Center to his alma mater to be used as a memorial.
Nearly four years after the attack, Clarkson University erected the rectangular, steel memorial, which sits looming in a field on the back of the university's campus, an eerie reminder and hopeful tribute.
“It is comforting to know that after 10 years we have seen the rebirth of lower Manhattan,” Mr. Newkofsky said. “However, it is equally comforting to know that we as a group continue to remember the impact on our own family here at Clarkson.”