John Jay 9/11 Tribute Ceremony Honors Our Fallen Heroes

John Jay 9/11 Tribute Ceremony Honors Our Fallen Heroes

John Jay 9/11 Tribute Ceremony Honors Our Fallen Heroes

Eighteen years ago, John Jay College lost 67 members of our community as a result of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. In their honor, and to honor all the lives lost in the tragedy, on Tuesday, September 10, our community recalled their service, reflected on the day, and reaffirmed our commitment to support each other. Gathering around our 9/11 memorial, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends lit candles of remembrance and shared their thoughts and experiences.  

President Mason remembering our fallen heroes
President Mason remembering our fallen heroes

“Today, as a community, we gather to pay tribute to our John Jay family members who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. This tragic event took a toll on everyone in our City, our country, and our world. Citizens from 78 countries perished. People from all walks of life were impacted—including undocumented and immigrant workers,” said President Karol V. Mason, adding that John Jay will forever remember the bravery of our first responders and the sacrifice they made. She also thanked the many students attending the ceremony, acknowledging that many of them were too young to remember the event, but that they were the legacy of our fallen heroes. “Every time you stand up for justice, every time you help those in need, every time that you attend a class with the hope of making the world a safer, better, more just place—you’re honoring their memory.”

“Every time you stand up for justice, every time you help those in need, every time that you attend a class with the hope of making the world a safer, better, more just place—you’re honoring their memory.” —Karol V. Mason

Mason’s remarks were followed by a poem read by Gina Rae Foster, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, who eloquently expressed in her verses the unexpected and impactful moments of the tragedy. During the recital of names, students placed a candle around the memorial, signifying all 67 lost alumni members—the highest number of alumni lost during September 11 of any higher education institution in the country.

Captain Jason Tama telling a story about the maritime industry
Captain Jason Tama telling a story about a brave Coast Guard Lieutenant during 9/11

“These volunteers headed into danger with one goal in mind, to help those in need.” —Captain Jason Tama

Encouraging everyone to honor those lost by reaffirming our commitment to each other, Captain Jason Tama, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York, Captain of the Port, told a little-known story about the comradery of the maritime industry on that tragic day. “On September 11, after the towers collapsed and all the bridges, tunnels, and mass transit modes were closed, millions of people ran for safety. Hundreds of thousands of people ran south to the water’s edge desperately trying to escape the carnage and debris clouds behind them,” he said. “A young Coast Guard Lieutenant, saw what was playing out and made a decision to act. He did not wait for direction; he did not wait for permission, but instead he got on the radio and asked all available boats to assists with the evacuation of Lower Manhattan. They weren’t sure if anyone would respond, but in a matter of minutes, hundreds of boats from varying places converged in Lower Manhattan. These volunteers headed into danger with one goal in mind, to help those in need.

Chief Nilda Hoffman remembering the sacrifice of police officers on 9/11
Chief Nilda Hoffman remembering the sacrifice of police officers on 9/11

Nilda Hoffman ’02, NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Bureau and Michael Ajello, FDNY Manhattan Borough Commander, both spoke of the incredible sacrifice made by police officers and fire fighters alike, who without thinking, did whatever they could to ensure the safety of civilians. Hoffman and Ajello each lit a candle in memory of those first responders who passed on that day, and those who have died from 9/11-related illnesses since the attack.

“We will never forget what first responders did for us. We will always remember their sacrifice.” —Jules Kroll

Before the ceremony ended, Jules Kroll, Chair of the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees, gave one final salute to the heroism of our fallen heroes. “On that day, nearly 3,000 people died. Most of them were civilians of all nationalities going about their daily lives. Thanks to the heroism of first responders, military personnel, federal agents, and volunteers, thousands of civilians were safely evacuated from the ruins of the World Trade Center,” Kroll said. “These people were competent, caring, and heroic. We will never forget what first responders did for us. We will always remember their sacrifice.”

Jules Kroll
Jules Kroll

Finishing the ceremony with a stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace,” sang by Adjunct Professor Gregory Sheppard, students placed paper cranes on the memorial site, a symbol of hope and healing.

More scenes from the event:

The memorial site encircled with candles
The memorial site encircled with candles

Jules Kroll, with son Nick Kroll and wife Lynn Kroll
Jules Kroll, with son Nick Kroll and wife Lynn Kroll

Students placing paper cranes on the memorial site
Students placing paper cranes on the memorial site

John Jay Student Council members
John Jay Student Council members

NYPD, FDNY, and Coast Guard service members
NYPD, FDNY, and Coast Guard service members

Diego Redondo, Director Department of Public Safety with Chief Nilda Hoffman
Diego Redondo, Director of John Jay's  Department of Public Safety with Chief Nilda Hoffman

CUNY Army ROTC Color Guard commencing the ceremony
CUNY Army ROTC Color Guard commencing the ceremony

Gina Rae Foster reading her poem
Gina Rae Foster reading her poem