- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

A conservative activist group is helping college students nationwide commemorate tomorrow’s two-year anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, compensating for minimal or nonexistent campus-sponsored ceremonies.

“We really wanted to do something for 9/11,” said Patrick Coyle, director of campus programs for the Young America’s Foundation in Herndon.

The foundation, which is helping students at some 100 campuses nationwide, created the “9/11 Never Forget Project” to provide ideas, hand-held flags, buttons and posters to student groups to commemorate the day.

“The main thing we’re encouraging young people to do is to hold a moment of silence on their campus,” said Mr. Coyle, adding that response has been better than expected.

On some campuses, the students are organizing the only major commemorative event.

When officials at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, said they weren’t planning anything, “we took it upon ourselves” to organize a memorial service tomorrow at the chapel, said sophomore Oliver Wolf, who is vice president of the Bates College Republicans.

A coalition of groups, including Bates Democrats, Bates Libertarians, Hillel, Bates Christian Fellowship, Catholic Student Community and the Muslim student association, Mushahada, are participating, he said. The student-run service will include prayers, readings from religious texts, songs and poetry.

On other campuses, students said commemorations were insufficient.

For instance, at Tulane University in New Orleans, administrators plan to show films “about Afghan-Americans’ struggle in the aftermath of 9/11,” said College Republican leader Chris Meyer.

“We didn’t feel that that was wholly appropriate, so we organized some things,” he said.

The films still will be shown, he said, but there also will be a campuswide day of meditation and remembrance, plus a memorial service at 9:11 p.m.

Michelle Meredith, a junior at Ithaca College in New York, similarly was underwhelmed by the campus administration’s plans to have “a prayer for world peace at the peace pole.”

“This is an upstate New York school, and we have a lot of students from New York City who were very directly impacted by it,” she said. “So we wanted to have a memorial for the actual victims of 9/11.”

Plans now include a candlelight service at 9:11 p.m. Miss Meredith said students also are trying to get Ithaca officials to turn off all but one pair of fountains to symbolize the two fallen towers of the World Trade Center.


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