Emerson marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with its annual candlelight vigil, held September 11 at Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand. About 300 students, faculty, alumni, and Boston community members gathered to remember those lost in the tragic events of that day.
The longest running vigil of remembrance of 9/11 in Boston, it was initiated by Emerson’s Communication Politics and Law Association (CPLA), a student organization, and its faculty advisor, Communication Studies Associate Professor Gregory Payne. The first vigil was held on the evening of September 11, 2001.
“It’s an important tradition for faculty, students, and staff at the College and for those who live in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Payne. “The vigil is a time to come together, reflect, and remember those who were lost on September 11. It’s also a chance to continue to heal as a community through understanding, tolerance, and forgiveness.”
This year’s vigil program included a special candle lighting ceremony with Boston elementary school students, and readings and speeches by Emerson faculty, alumni, and President Lee Pelton.
Pelton urged the attendees to share their talents and resources with the world in honor of those whose lives were cut short 10 years ago. “As awful as 9/11 was (and still is in our memories of it), it is the days that followed that define who we are and what we stand for as a nation,” said Pelton. “Make no mistake about it. We have an opportunity to leave a legacy. History requires it; those who perished that day require it. Both history and they will judge us by our actions—by how we answered, as a nation and as individuals, the question, what will I do?”
The vigil honors the victims of 9/11, including the wife of a former Emerson Trustee, Sonia Puopolo, who was on American Airlines Flight 11. Sonia’s daughter, Sonia Tita Puopolo ’96, MA ’97, participated in this year’s vigil, along with alumnus Prince Faisal Al Saud ’01, who co-founded the Saudi Global Exchange with Payne in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. In addition to Sonia Puopolo, the Emerson community lost two other members on 9/11: alumna Jane Simpkin and adjunct faculty member Myra Aronson.