Remembering 9/11: Education Vs. Experience


Professor Perry Martin speaks during the 9/11 memorial ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 11, located at the flag pole outside Fountain Hall. Martin spoke of his service in the U.S. Army, and the families that were touched by the attacks. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Evan Reinhardt

Dozens of students and faculty gathered around the flagpole outside Fountain Hall Wednesday morning to commemorate the souls that were lost during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hosted by Interim President Julius Sokenu. Although many younger students may not possess memories of the events, older students and staff pass on the message of bereavement and recognition, as well as courage and hope, so the victims of the attack may not have died in vain.

One such faculty member that spoke at the ceremony was business professor Perry Martin, a U.S. Army veteran. Martin spoke of the pain and anguish resulting from the attacks, and how the community can use those feelings to educate future generations about the events.

“Today there are families all across this nation doing the very best they can to evoke the emotion that their families felt on 9/11,” stated Martin. “But it is hard for our students to be empathetic, or even sympathetic, when most weren’t even born or were too young to remember.”

The flags are flown at half-staff in honor of the lives lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

For Moorpark College freshman Halle Perkins, Sept. 11 is a day to mourn and celebrate. Perkins was born on the day of the attacks and annually deals with the duality of the day.

“It was always ‘Happy birthday! Oh wait, sorry.’ or ‘Wow, that sucks,’” Perkins claimed. “It’s always been kind of an idea in my head, since I was just being born. I couldn’t even comprehend it. I think that’s why it took so long until middle school, that I realized, ‘Oh, that’s a big thing.’”

Many other younger students may not have any recollection of that dark day. Most will come to understand the levity through documentaries, news coverage and memorial sites. Slowly, the attacks are becoming an event in history books, rather than a memory in the collective conscious of the nation.

Colby Austin, a freshman at Moorpark College, listens to business professor Perry Martin's speech during the 9/11 memorial service on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

One of the several groups that Sokenu honored during the MC ceremony were first responders. Men and women, in dedication to saving lives, gave up their own on the day of the attacks. Many surviving responders also continually deal with illness and injuries that originated from the apocalyptic aftermath. Lieutenant Andy Huisenga, member of the campus police, also attended the ceremony and shared his thoughts on how younger people may connect with the families and friends of whom were scarred by the attacks

“No matter how many documentaries you watch, you don’t… see the horrors of people literally jumping out of the building because it was on fire,” Huisenga said. “I think the best thing to do is talk to gentlemen like [Martin] who are veterans.”

Although the events of Sept. 11, 2001 are moving further and further into the past, the memories of those who bore witness are still crystal clear. Sokenu initiated a moment of silence after delivering a prepared speech.

Dr. Julius Sokenu, interim president at Moorpark College, delivers a speech during the 9/11 memorial ceremony located at the flag pole outside Fountain Hall, on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“History is made up of the stories and lives of people. We cannot forget the tears that we shed, but we also have to… remember what those lives stood for,” Sokenu expressed. “Remember that as a people, we owe one another the gratitude of civility. We owe one another that respect. We owe one another hope.”

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Lieutenant Andy Huisenga shakes hands with professor Perry Martin after the memorial ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 11, outside Fountain Hall. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

First responders are a valuable source of experience in regards to local tragedies and traumatic events. For those also interested in speaking with a veteran about their service, visit the Veteran Resource Center located in the Student Services Annex.