UT students memorialize friends, family lost in attacks

Jody Serrano

Fine arts graduate student Courtney Sale has always had a hard time finding the right words to speak about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Nearly 10 years ago, Sale’s brother-in-law entered the North Tower to attend a conference at the top floor. He never emerged.

Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the anniversary of her brother-in-law’s death. After years of doing research and having conversations with other families affected by 9/11, Sale has finally found the words to talk about her experience and will debut them in a production called “september play.”

“For me, a lot of the play is dialogue I have on a daily basis with my own family,” Sale said. “It’s [talking] about a personal loss that’s situated in public loss.”

Sale’s play is one part of UT’s three-day 9/11 commemoration, which will begin with a flag lowering on the Main Mall Friday morning and a carillon concert at noon. Students are encouraged to leave notes of remembrance, individual perspectives and memories of 9/11 at the UT Tower, according to the University’s website. All notes will be collected and saved in official University archives in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Friday’s activities will conclude with a 9/11 panel entitled “Conversation 9/11: A Decade After, Looking Forward” hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The commemoration has been a joint effort of the Office of the President, Student Government, Office of Relationship Management and University Events. Director of University Media Relations Gary Susswein said recognizing and commemorating 9/11 is very important to the University.

“It was an event that had a profound impact on our nation and changed the [lives] of many people here at the University,” Susswein said. “We think the events we’re putting forward and the opportunities we’re giving students to express their feelings are an appropriate way to mark this event.”

Student body president Natalie Butler said she remembers waking up on 9/11 to the news of the first tower being hit on the radio and talking about it in her seventh grade class. Butler said Student Government and the administration thought the tenth anniversary was particularly important to the campus and the community.

“I hope the student body will have a chance to reflect and think about the impact 9/11 has had on all of our lives,” Butler said.

Saturday and Sunday‘s events will include a moment of silence at the Texas football game against Brigham Young University, a darkened Tower and a Tower display of the American flag. Sunday will also feature the debut of Sale’s play at Anna Hiss Gym at 8 p.m.

Sale said the play would only run once a year coinciding with the commemoration of 9/11 and she hoped the play would compel people to encounter 9/11 in a different way.

“I want the audience to leave something at the play, to remember and think about a better future [and] to open up to each other a little more,” Sale said. “That’s all I ask.”