More than 60 Texas A&M University-San Antonio students, faculty and staff wore somber expressions during the Patriot Day ceremony Sept. 11 outside Patriots’ Casa.
Patriot Day is a national day of remembrance for the almost 3,000 lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. This includes the collapse of the Twin Towers, the crash of commercial Flight 93, and an attack on the Pentagon.
Richard Delgado Jr., director of Military Affairs and master of ceremonies, recounted the heroism displayed by first responders and many others at Ground Zero.
“On that day, we saw ordinary people spend their last moments showing acts of love to those around them,” Delgado said.
Army Capt. Shavayey Cato, assistant professor of military science, sang the National Anthem as members of the A&M-San Antonio ROTC posted the colors.
“Our country has come a long way since Sept. 11, 2001, but we need leaders of integrity and citizens of character now just as much as we did then,” Delgado said.
During the ceremony, university President Cynthia Teniente-Matson laid a wreath of flowers at the foot of the Survivor Tree as a sign of remembrance. Ceremony attendees with personal ties to the events of 9/11 joined her, placing yellow roses by the wreath.
A&M-San Antonio’s Survivor Tree was planted as a Callery pear tree seedling taken from the only tree left standing after the towers fell at Ground Zero: the original Survivor Tree. It is located in the healing garden by Patriots’ Casa.
Despite the time that has passed since 9/11, students are still affected by its impact.
“I struggle with this day, honestly,” international business management senior Merial Edwards said.
Edwards was in second grade when the events of 9/11 shook the world, but she remembers where she was and how she felt that day.
“Our entire school just shut down completely, of course. Everyone was just watching the news and waiting for information,” Edwards said. “When I got home that day, I could tell my parents were stressed, but I didn’t really understand what was going on; I just knew something bad happened.”
A&M-San Antonio had a campuswide moment of silence at 9:46 a.m. during the ceremony.
“It’s hard to focus because a lot of the day today I spend thinking about what happened in the past,” Edwards said.