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President Patton's Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11

September 10, 2021


Middlebury President Laurie sent the following message by email to the campus community on Friday, September 10, 2021.

Dear Middlebury Community,

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the deadliest in U.S. history, I ask that each of us reflect on how these events live on through our experiences—individually and collectively—as a community, and in the world.

Two decades later, we are still coming to terms with the events of that day in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We have been permanently changed by the unthinkable loss of nearly 3,000 lives; the illness, injury, and wars that followed; and the uncertainty that lingers for families who never heard the final word about their loved ones.

Whether we experienced these horrifying events and their aftermath as adults, were told about them as children, or studied them from afar, each of us embodies the narrative and bears witness to how that day changed us. As we mark this day, let us consider the consequences of violence and the value of our freedoms. Let us challenge our leaders and ourselves to reckon with the human cost of the wars that followed. Let us engage in rigorous debate about these issues, with compassion, understanding, and respect for one another. And, in doing all these things, let us deepen our commitment to world education and peacebuilding.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all who were lost, and we will not forget.

For those on the Vermont campus, we will hold a candlelit vigil on the steps of the chapel, 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, September 11. No formal events are scheduled at the Institute in Monterey, but all are invited to mark this day in their own way.

Yours in memory, and in sorrow,

Laurie Patton
President