Haverford Remembers 9/11

Haverford Remembers 9/11

A Swamp Chestnut Oak planted by former grounds manager Eric Larson on 9/11 in front of the KINSC rotunda has thrived in the decade since.


To honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we are inviting you to share your reflections below in the comments section.

Details about events are being posted below as they become available.


The Center for Peace and Global Citizenship is sponsoring an event with author and civil rights lawyer Alia Malek on September 14 in Sharpless Auditorium. Malek will read from her book, Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice, a collection of oral histories of 18 individuals who have suffered human and civil rights abuses of the post-9/11 backlash and the War on Terror.

Howard Lutnick ’83, chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, will share his story and the Cantor story of resilience, rebuilding and triumph after losing 658 of his employees in the attack on the World Trade Center. His talk will be held during Family & Friends Weekend: Saturday, October 29, at 11:00 a.m.

** There will be a candlelight vigil held on Founders Green at 8 p.m. on 9/11 to honor those impacted by the tragic events. All members of the Haverford community are welcome to join in the observance to be with others, speak, listen or enjoy silent thought.


**The documentary, Objects and Memory, by Jonathan Fein ’72, will be rebroadcast (starting 8/29) on PBS to mark the 9/11 anniversary. The film, which is narrated by actor Frank Langella and uses music by Philip Glass, follows curators from the New York Historical Society as they retrieve and preserve material from Ground Zero, and includes interviews with historians and people affected by the tragedy as they discuss the everyday objects that became precious in the wake of the event. Check your local PBS listings for showtimes. For more on Objects and Memory, please refer to this story that we wrote back in 2008, when it was originally broadcast.

** Every year the two companies of Howard Lutnick ’83, BGC Partners and Cantor Fitzgerald, donate 100% of their global earnings on 9/11 to 75 international charities. In commemoration of the 658 employees they lost in the World Trade Center attacks, the companies host celebrities and charity ambassadors who join licensed brokers to conduct transactions with clients on 9/11. This year, to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, those ambassadors included Prince Harry (who closed the largest foreign currency trade), Presidents Clinton and Bush, Carmelo Anthony, Ben Stiller, Rolling Stone Ron Wood and Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliff), among many others. Charity Day raised $12 million dollars this year and has raised $77 million globally since its inception. Read more here.


  1. I was a sophomore when 9/11 happened. I remember hearing about the news as I was on the Blue Bus at Stokes on my way to BMC for Ed200 and a Spanish Conversation class with Prof. Arribas. When I arrived at BMC and walked through Pem Arch, you could see people crying. All TVs in the common rooms and classrooms were tuned to the news. Now that I live in Center City, I hope to spend part of my day at Haverford, just reflecting silently, on my own. I look forward to seeing what the campus has prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary.

  2. As I am sure most people do, I have crystal-clear memories of where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. One of the things that has stayed with me from the days and weeks after 9/11 is the activity on the Haverford Alumni listserve. Activity shot up as people reached out to connect to our community. I remember the early messages of shock and incomprehension as being tinged, also, with hope. That note of hope dissipated, though, as the chaos of the first days eased and the final toll emerged. By the the second week the magnitude of the devastation, especially for our Haverford community, began to sink in. I remember the heart-wrenching sense of loss as messages started arriving from fellow alumni who had attended 10, 20, even 30 funerals in the course of just a week. I also remember, though, the warmth of the responses in support of those hardest hit and the strength of the Haverford community as it weathered the loss.

  3. There are many times in our lives as Haverfordians, when we are conscious and grateful for the strong community we foster. Never has this been more true for me than during, and still ten years after, the tragedy of 9/11. My closest circle of Haverford friends was hit directly, and in multiples, on that day. Our dear friends, and the brothers of dear friends, and the majority of the company of our dear friend, all died as part of a national tragedy that made our mourning and aftermath a surreal exercise. Those that survived these dear friends carried the burden of a traumatized nation even as they grieved their own tremendous loss. Ten years later, they do so once again.

    And as Haverfordians do, we turn to one another. In the days and weeks following 9/11, we came together, traveling great distances to be near those at the epicenter. To attend funerals, but also to just listen, and abide. We came together months later, after babies were born without their fathers, and families forged ahead trying to craft a new reality. We come together every year over the years. For rogue reunions, to dedicate buildings, to meet scholarship recipients, to play memorial softball and basketball games, to plant trees on campus at milestone reunions that our fallen friends cannot attend. We send cards and notes on birthdays, anniversaries, and days in between. As geography permits, we are there for the widows, children, siblings and parents. As my friend Howard says ” you show people you love them by taking care of the people they love.” That’s what we do.

    On our 20th reunion, as we planted the red oak in memory of Calvin Gooding Jr. ’84 (to the left of the Dining Center on the path that leads to the Blue Bus shuttle), I was overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of this caring Haverford community. So many turned out for that tree planting ceremony, and so much of what is great about Haverford came to the fore. Calvin’s sister Jocelyn said it best that day. In her words – “Haverford is consistent”, and constant. Calvin and Doug’s friends and community were there on 9/11, they were there the day after, the months after, the years after. We are still here for them, for their families and for each other. That’s what Haverfordians do for fellow Fords.

    We love and miss you Calvin, Doug, Tom, and Andy. We are so proud and thinking of you Howard, Lachanze, Danielle, Jennifer, Seth, Gerry and Anne. We hold you, and your families, in the light. You are proof positive that good does conquer evil, and love trumps hatred. I wish that none of us had lived these truisms, but the lesson is not lost on me. I am grateful to be inside the powerful Haverford circle that provides the secret ingredient to that alchemy. There is not one good thing that has come from 9/11, except the bonds of friendship strengthened.

  4. I am dismayed by the passive, platitudinous vacuity of the comments I read here. 9/11 was not a “national tragedy”, it was a great deal more than that. Nor are the lives lost in any sense a demonstration that “good does conquer evil.” Evil remains afoot in the world. Grieving does not diminish that at all.

  5. I read Ann’s comment differently than did Tom.

    The point I took is not that evil has been magically vanquished forevermore, or that losing lives somehow conquers evil, but that the strength and perseverance of families and friendships, within and beyond the Haverford community, show that goodness and love endure in the face of evil.

    Also — and I don’t know if this should be referred to the college’s math department or to its philosophers — I’m pretty sure that the fact that 9/11 was a tragedy beyond our national borders does not keep it from being a national tragedy, which it most assuredly was.

    I mourn my friends Calvin and Doug still, and am awed by the strength and grace of their families, and at the resilience of Howard and so many others. Peace.

  6. Tuesday Morn
    When the first plane struck, I made my morning cup of coffee; when the second plane struck, I when out to walk my dogs (another day in New York, I thought). When the first Tower fell, I went into auto drive and become the doctor- not apolitical crisis, but a medical emergency. I prepared to dress for the part: Armani suit, silk tie, suede Ferangamo shoes. To my chest, I slapped on every Hospital badge and ID like a soldier adorning himself with medals and epaulets.
    I knew in the chaos, conventional medicine would be useless and “looking the part” was all important. In retrospect- it was hubris and futility.
    On staff at the only hospital near the World Trade Center, I automatically headed downtown (in the opposite direction of the evacuating movement). And living next to Rescue One-the famous “Fireman to the Fireman” unit, I asked to “hitch a ride”. “Sure, doc, hop on board”….only we detoured from the hospital and charged right for the “site”. After a five minute delay secondary to engine trouble-FIVE minutes-our truck loaded with solders for battle or perhaps more like a pen of enraged bulls clueless why they follow the red cape, chased a giant red fireball one-quarter of a mile in the sky. We careened through the city, slaloming down the West Side Highway at break-neck speed–as if an extra minute would make such a life-saving difference. Hubris and futility.
    We arrived at the site and looked for “parking”. As fitting to our unit’s high ranking status, we bypassed a long red phalanx of fire trucks and parked dead center: the point zero of ground zero. A small area between the two Towers. I gulped a liter of water because the other firefighters did the same: monkey see, monkey do. The North Tower loomed above me, like a giant match stick aflame. I was so near that I could see the debris so clearly…but why did falling debris have flailing arms and legs? The bright orange fireball belching at will and without restraint seemed greater than anything seen on TV.
    A fireman handed to me a large metal pick axe: I had reached Manly Heaven, Macho Nirvana, cocaine Bliss -a primitive violent heavy tool in my soft doctor hands- I was accepted into the Club. Like the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Magnificent Seven and the Dirty Dozen we strapped on our macho finest and strode into the burning North Tower. I never said brave or smart: after two fire-bomb plane crashes and a complete tower collapse, we headed into a blazing building defying the laws of gravity (as if my pick ax and Armani would protect me).
    I craned my neck for my gaze to reach the 105 stories above my head as I asked the fireman by my side, “how do you guys get up there?”. “We have our ways”. Right on cue: Tower One’s antenna gave a subtle tilt before beginning its piercing descent-and heading for the street.
    One of the world’s tallest buildings was falling before my eyes-and over my head. It was so bright and clear, it took me a moment to realize the scene was NOT a movie. No fear, only amazement (in fact a nameless firefighter had to yank me from my trance and instruct me to run for your life). When I saw a stampede of rough, brave, uniformed rescue workers running AWAY, I knew it was time to go
    To be confined: I do not know how to save on this blog, so I will send the above hoping to “save” it; I will continue to write later

  7. Tuesday Morn (continued)

    Thousands of husbands and wives watched the television as their spouses escaped the collapse; my wife watched knowing we were heading in to that very photo op, just as 1,400 feet of man- made might disappeared into a cloud of dust. We started to run, but we were not faster than the hailstorm of concrete and steel. A nameless fireman body checked me to the ground and towards the closest car. “Crawl under (or die)” .The dirty street, I thought, what about my Armani pants! Hubris. The first thunderous shower of steel meteors sent me to my knees and belly. “Wait…” Then the seconds wave, a torrential downpour of broken glass ripped the protective car above us. “Wait…” a third wave, the deceptively dangerous dust cloud engulfed us all. The grey particles consumed the very sunlight of that morning creating instant darkness; the coarse aerosol of crushed concrete and cremated humans penetrated the safety of our shelter and then my lungs. With damage from chemotherapy and asthma, my lungs went into instant bronchospasm. I had my last breath. I calculated how much air I had remaining and how distant was the nearest ambulance. I did the math: I would not make it. I lay down to die. I did not see my life before me; I saw my Armani pants, silk tie and all those badges- the hubris, the futility. Not only would I not save anyone, I would die in a pile of dirt- literally.
    With acceptance comes calm. With calm, the ability to think and survive.
    To be continued: my work day of September 11 was just beginning, thus I will “store” my comments in the blog until I learn how to work it or the editors pick me apart

  8. Tuesday Morn After the Fall
    His arm blindly thrusting through the darkness, the nameless fireman trapped underneath our car handed me some gauze to shove down my throat. I took thimble-sized breathes through the makeshift filter until the blackness became grey. I bolted to where I remembered the ambulance to be and spying a soldier receiving treatment, I instinctively perceived his weakness and ripped the oxygen mask from his trembling face and placed it on my own. I sucked in the sweetest breath: I was reborn.
    All of us who survived that moment, galvanized by heat, dust and history, felt a sort of Valhalla invincibility. After two plane crashes, two tower collapses, multiple fires, threats of future car bombings, loss of medical supplies, breakdown of leadership and communication we went into the next burning building. When the Fire Captain said Get Out, we did not listen; when trucks broke down, we walked; when our shoes melted, we took a pair from the dead. (True, an explosion can knock a person out of their shoes, thus the plaza – devoid of human life- was littered with empty, perfect shoes) Our medical expertise (and hubris) was useless to those already Lost, and injured rescue workers refused to leave their positions, thus into the breach, crevices, caves, piles, and burning structures we went.
    My service to the dead would come not from my medical training, genius or bravery. My gift that day was to do what other men-firemen, policemen, soldiers who are trained to face death and violence- could not do. Not a hero, but a ghoul, a sociopath, an automaton with no “off” button; a surgeon who can cut, a dog who can dig. When someone stepped away, I stepped in. When I came home, my body and clothes were soaked- not with my hard working sweat- but the secretions and body fluids of the “Lucky”‘ because they were the ones found.Unlike images of the dusty American flag or twisted-steel crosses, what was seen those first few hours will not
    become iconic…or be seen at all.
    I rode in a parade with the Governor, stood with the Mayor on the steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral (for the funeral of the Captain of Rescue One), watched Howard L. inspire in a synagogue; work the flaming piles of the site and the piles at the Staten Island landfills. I did pet therapy with my dogs in the tents on the West Side Highway and did 20 medical shows on television. I went to reunions for Cantor to secretly put a face on the bodies I dug up. I collected dust from the site to plant with a tree for our classmates on campus. My fellow rescuers (all doctors or ex military) are all divorced or are PTSD. I was expelled, detained or arrested by the military, Port Authority or NYPD at various times for returning to work the site (automaton with no “off” switch,
    remember). I still have my shoes and Armani suit. I obsessed always and wrote never for ten
    years…thus I thank you.

  9. In the days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Haverford and Bryn Mawr students of Professor Ying Li found expression for their thoughts and emotions in art. They asked to display their paintings and drawings in the Reference Alcove of Magill Library, and on the wall of the lobby adjacent to the exhibit, they posted a board asking community members to draw the flag of their nation of ancestry. The following images of this exhibit are presented in remembrance of the events of that day.


    John Anderies
    Head of Special Collections
    Haverford College

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