Photo Essay: Remembering 9/11 at Duke

Jill McWhirter, who was visiting Duke to watch her daughter’s soccer game, joined the Duke vigil Saturday morning.

Jill McWhirter, who was visiting Duke to watch her daughter’s soccer game, joined the Duke vigil Saturday morning.

At the very moment that two decades before the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center at the start of the 9/11 attacks, faith leaders from across the campus led a ‘Remember and Hope’ Interfaith Vigil in front of Duke Chapel to honor victims of the attacks and to find a way to use hope to build a better world.  The vigil included moments of prayer, reading and silent reflection. 

Powery concluded the ceremony by calling on the community to use the memory of the attacks to find the humanity to "live together as brothers."

"When we remember the dead, we remember the grief and the loss, but we also remember what is yet to be, we remember our future and try to put our lives back together again. Memory can be difficult and painful, but it is also the space out of which hope rises," Powery said.

He ended the vigil singing a spiritual from the voices of enslaved African peoples.

Rev. Luke Powery speaks at Saturday's 9/11 vigil

The event drew members from the Duke and local communities, as well as some visitors. All came to honor the victims of the attacks, the courage of the first responders, and to reflect on how hope can help about a more peaceful world. “I always go to a 9/11 service wherever I am,” said Jill McWhirter (pictured at top), who was visiting Duke to watch her daughter’s soccer game.

In his remarks, Price quoted poet Maya Angelou on the persistence of trauma that lives on “in our heart, our mind, and our memories.” But he added that Angelou also reminds us that “we are not left with our memories alone—we also have our hearts and our minds.”

“Together,” Price said, “we can turn with our hearts to build a more inclusive, empathic community here at Duke and beyond. We can use our minds to foster a greater understanding of our world and our place in it, and to live lives of service to our neighbors and engagement with our communities.”

After the vigil, participants were invited to visit the Memorial plaque on Keohane Quad that honors the six Duke alumni killed in the 9/11 attacks.

President Price at the 9/11 plaque in Keohane Quad.

wreath laid at 9/11 plaque on Keohane Quad honoring the six Duke alumni killed on 9/11

Saturday evening, the memorial continued with a Chapel concert featuring the Ciompi Quartet and the Duke Chapel Schola Cantorum singers performing compositions with themes of remembrance, peace and reconciliation, interspersed with readings from various faith traditions. In addition, the Chapel hosted an exhibition of photographs of past campus vigils and protests.

Photos and slideshow by Jared Lazarus/Duke University

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