gather on Stanford Quad to pray and remember
voices came haltingly at first -- quiet pinpoints of sound from a crowd
of thousands gathered at noon Friday on the Main Quad, where a service
was being held in observation of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance
proclaimed by President Bush.
"My sister. Her name is Robin," one man called out, somewhat
louder the rest. People groaned in sorrow.
And with greater frequency, more voices were heard. They spoke the names
of those who may or may not be alive after terrorist attacks Sept. 11
killed everyone aboard four commercial airliners, demolished a section
of the Pentagon and brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center
in Manhattan, where at least 5,000 people are presumed dead.
People sat with bowed
heads and listened to prayers punctuated by silence at Friday's service.
Photo: L.A. Cicero
They also spoke the names of those who were injured or stranded or otherwise
could not be reached on account of the disasters.
"It's all right even if the names tumble out of you and come
at the same time on top of each other," said the Rev. Scotty McLennan,
dean for religious life. "For we lift up all; we lift up each and
every person's name in prayer."
The memorial service included prayers by various members of Stanford Associated
Religions. First there was an Islamic call to prayer. Then followers of
Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Hindu traditions stood up and sang or
chanted. A period of silence followed each. At the end, a Buddhist follower
struck a bell several times. This also was followed by silence.
"As we go forward in the days ahead, I hope that we will be motivated
first by passion and charity for those who have suffered and will continue
to struggle with their grief," President John Hennessy said. "I
also ask that we all remember that the color of a person's skin or
his national origin or her religious beliefs do not make them a terrorist
or imply that they harbor any sympathy for individuals who committed this
He also said that Stanford's motto, "the wind of freedom blows,"
could serve as inspiration for people struggling with questions about
freedom and how to maintain a free society.
"It seems to me, however, that if we alter our commitment to a free
and open society, we will have given these terrorists a victory which
they do not deserve," Hennessy said.
Many students, administrators, professors and other university staff,
as well as residents from the surrounding community, attended the service.
"I just hope that some prayers can do something," said Julie
DiCarlo, a graduate student in electrical engineering.
"I'm just really upset," said Kerry Roach, an administrative
associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She said the memorial
service shows "that we're all united and that we support our