Several rows of Emerson students and faculty stood circled around the gazebo on Boston Common, with unlit candles in their hands, as President M. Lee Pelton offered words of remembrance and solidarity Tuesday, Sept. 11.
The Sept. 11 vigil, in its eleventh year running, was organized by Emerson’s Communications, Politics and Law Association. Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke, president of CPLA, Dr. John Anderson, chair of Communication Studies Department, Dr. Gregory Payne, political communication Professor and Advisor to CPLA, and Greg Stewart, assistant to Senator John Kerry, all spoke at the event.
“I hope for you, what Martin Luther King hoped for his generation. That unarmed truth and unconditioned love will have the final word in reality,” Pelton said, addressing the crowd.
“And so in our longing for hope for resolution, we have to know that our weary hearts will be softened by life’s tender mercies and that it was enough after all. It is enough, and we are truly grateful for their memory,” he said.
Hancke thanked those who came to pay homage, recounting the day when she herself, as a middle school student learned the news of Sept. 11. She spoke of the importance of global unity to fight injustice and promote diplomatic understanding.
Gregory Payne addressed the crowd, commemorating Myra Aaronson, a former communication studies professor, Jane Simpkin, a former student, and Sonia Morales Puoppolo, mother of Sonia Tita Puopolo, an Emerson alumnus, who lost their lives on Sept. 11.
Erin Goodyear, a sophomore political communication major, recited the poem "We Shall Never Forget” by anonymous as the candles were lighted and flames were passed on from candle to candle. Abagael McCauley, a sophomore marketing and political communications double major read, “May they not be Forgotten” by anonymous and Kassie King, a sophomore political communication major recited David Robert’s “There Will be Peace.”
There was a moment of silence and then the candles were set upon the center of the gazebo to conclude the vigil.
Payne said the annual vigil brings Emerson students together for more than just a memorial.
“Why I believe Emerson is such a special place is that we all believe that communication, negotiation, respect, tolerance is key,” he said. “And that’s what I think this 9/11 tribute really is too.”
Morales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.