9/11 message to campus community

Dr. Mary A. Papazian

Dear Campus Community,

While a variety of issues and concerns compete for our attention, it is important today that we reflect on the events of September 11, 2001 and the acts of heroism that subsequently took place.

Terrorism is not a scourge that vexes only the United States, but our fellow citizens’ response to 9/11 was, indeed, uniquely American. We always will remember the courage of those who perished and the coming together of our country in the immediate aftermath of those horrific events.

For those of you who are not aware, it was a SJSU alum – Captain Jason Dahl, ’80 Aeronautics Operations – who piloted United Flight 93. The flight’s crew and several passengers confronted the terrorists in a heroic but ultimately unsuccessful effort to reclaim the aircraft, which crashed in western Pennsylvania. Their bravery likely saved many lives and prevented an even greater catastrophe.

In honor of Captain Dahl, SJSU aviation program faculty, students and staff pause each year on this day to remember his heroism, bravery, and life. Captain Dahl will never be forgotten by those of us here at San José State.

My academic career took me to several East Coast stops in the years after 9/11, so I heard many gut-wrenching accounts of that day and the terrible toll it took on so many of our fellow Americans.

President Obama, in a 2011 radio address, offered a simple but tangible suggestion for how we can best remember those who were lost:

Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

Dr. Mary A. Papazian