Camden County College marked twenty-one years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Members of the College Community gathered to honor the civilians, first responders, and service members who lost their lives on that fateful day and in the subsequent War on Terror.
Members of local Police and Law Enforcement Agencies, Fire Departments, EMS Squads and United States Military Personnel traveled in procession around the Blackwood Campus on Friday, September 9 at noon. The procession ended at the flagpole in front of Taft Hall for a flag raising ceremony by the Camden County Police Academy Cadets.
Reflections on 9/11 from Dr. Pugh-Bassett
I will never forget the day I received a call from my mom who worked only blocks away from the World Trade Center telling me that a plane had crashed into the first tower. My heart sunk, I was still, without words, without the ability to grapple with a reaction. The best I could do was to hurriedly rush back to my cubicle and google a news report to see the images in real time. Then the second plane hit. At that moment my mom, who was evacuating, and was supposed to call me back when she got to safety, could not be reached. The phone lines were down. My dad, who also worked close to the towers could not be reached.
As the central point of contact for most in the family, it was no surprise that everyone seemed to be trying to reach me at once to find out any intel I had on my mom and dad. I gave the information that I could give as I attempted to calm frantic family members only to get a call from my cousin who advised me that her fiancé was on the plane. No words could describe the feeling I felt at that moment. Now three family members impacted, one of whom we were convinced had perished, are unaccounted for and I am in Trenton watching my home town, the city that shaped who I am, go up in flames.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I was experiencing significant trauma and panic but I had to pull it together. I had to create a phone chain where I was the central point of communication so that we can ensure that all family members got the information they needed as soon as we could get it. My mom finally called to let me know she was safe. I finally found my dad. And my soon to be cousin-in-love…. well, he missed his flight and ended up in Chicago. My anxiety quickly shifted from the worry of my family to the compassion for my beloved city. The skyline will never be the same again. 9/11 is very personal to me.
As I watched the story unfold, I heard reports of hundreds of thousands of first responders including EMT, Paramedics, Police and Fire, along with National Guard personnel who sprang into action, traveling hours – days even, to pitch in to help. Some perished that day, some succumbed to their sacrifice days, months and years later. Some were on the scene immediately and others helping with the aftermath. All collectively weaving into the fabric of the humanity of who we are.
To commemorate the service of those who responded, some of whom paid the ultimate price on 9/11, we are asking you to join us and those first responders who serve our campus community on 9/9/22 along the Alumni Drive for a moment of silence to honor all those who perished, those who perished in service, those who served whose lives will be forever changed, their families, their friends and their loved ones. We stand to honor the homes that were broken, the friendships that were lost, the businesses that never recovered, the city that finally “slept.” We ask that you step out of your offices and classrooms to respect the business owners that never were, the lawyers that would’ve been, the mothers that never bore. We will honor them all by quietly gathering together in remembrance of that day.
Dr. Pugh-Bassett, President
Camden County College