Moorpark College and community leaders remember 9/11 over the weekend


An American flag ripples in the wind in front of City Hall in Camarillo, CA. On Sept. 11, 2022, many flags were flown half-staff in remembrance of 9/11. Photo credit: Shahbano Raza

By Shahbano Raza

21 years after the tragedy of 9/11 took place, the Moorpark College community continues to pay tribute to the lives that were lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.

On Sunday morning, Moorpark College released a statement on Instagram that reflected on the devastating loss caused by the Sept. 11 attacks as well as the resilience of the United States in response to the heartbreaking tragedy.

“On Sept. 11, 2001, America was forever changed,” the statement read. “It has been 21 years since the attacks, but that tragic day served as a true test of the American spirit. We honor the value of life, those loved and lost, our country’s resilience [and] the strength of human compassion worldwide.”

Below the statement, the college linked a video titled “Moorpark College remembers 911 Patriots Day.” Published on the college’s YouTube account in 2020, the video consists of Moorpark College veterans and leadership sharing their perceptions and takeaways from 9/11.

The video’s theme was of love, hope and resilience. The first responders who sacrificed their lives to save others on Sept. 11 were commended in a list shown around half-way through the video—their names in white print standing out against a pitch-black background.

This message of remembrance was further exemplified as Moorpark College President Julius Sokenu proceeded to recite an excerpt from “The Names,” a poem written by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins in honor of the nearly 3,000 individuals who passed away because of 9/11.

“Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory,” Sokenu recited. “So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.”

Previously, Moorpark College has hosted in-person and virtual events to remember the victims of 9/11. Last year, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, the college hosted an online event titled “Portrait of Strength” during which retired NYC Fire Captain Alfredo Fuentes discussed the impact of 9/11 on himself and others.

In the webinar, Fuentes expressed a desire to see peace and harmony in the wake of 9/11. Data from the FBI shows that hate crimes against Muslims skyrocketed following 9/11, exacerbating the divisiveness caused by Islamophobia.

According the Fuentes, the establishment of Muslim Students Associations on college campuses can help combat hatred and bigotry by spreading cultural awareness. Moorpark College has an active MSA and more information regarding the club can be found on their Instagram.

“We have enough hate,” said Fuentes. “We don’t need hate, we need love.”

The spirit of unity was echoed this morning by elected officials in Ventura County as they also took to social media to reflect not only on the tragedy of 9/11 but also the country’s ability to show a united front in the tragedy’s aftermath.

“On #September11, our nation came together and showed resilience in the face of terror,” Congresswoman Julia Brownley said in a tweet. “Today, we remember the bravery of those who answered the call during America’s darkest hours, and we remain dedicated to honor the memory of the lives lost. We will #NeverForget.”

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin also issued a statement about the Sept. 11 attacks.

“21 years ago an unthinkable tragedy struck our nation,” Irwin tweeted. “I recently visited Shanksville [and] was reminded of the many stories of heroism on [Sept. 11]. Today we honor memories of the lives lost [and] all the heroes including our brave first responders who ran toward the danger. #NeverForget911.”

As U.S. flags flew half-staff across the country Sunday morning, community leaders seemed to share the same underlying message—America must stand united and never forget the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.