After the September 11 terrorist attacks, SU became an electronic gathering place for its anguished constituencies. Students, faculty, staff, friends, and alumni from around the world e-mailed messages to the University. The breadth of messages was panoramic: eyewitnesses offered accounts; mourners shared grief; citizens of the world expressed solidarity; the cautious counseled restraint; and the angry called for retribution. Following is a sampling of those letters and excerpts. To read more, including the complete messages of those excerpted, visit on the web.

I was trying to get inside the World Trade Center mall area to grab breakfast and get to work, but we were told we could not enter. I saw people pointing and looking up, screaming and crying. Then I saw Tower I on fire, with a huge hole on the right side of the building. It was shocking. I didn’t know what to do, so I found a spot by the Millennium Hotel and all I could do was stare at the building. I could not comprehend this, nor would I believe it. Then I witnessed people taking their lives from the upper floors. Pieces of the building and debris started falling and I had to get out of the way, so I ran down the block. People were running so hard and so fast that they literally were running out of their shoes.

Dan Marino ’97
Brooklyn, New York

For the rest of my life people will ask me how I felt on September 11, 2001. That day and the days that followed brought out all the emotions I have. I will say that on that day many men and women lost their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, and friends to the perils of hatred, but also on that day people risked their lives to help others. I will tell them that I lost a friend, Brady Howell G’00. I will tell them of the smile that he had and of the outstretched arms he gave to me when I needed assistance. I will tell them that he made his friends smile and laugh. I will tell them that he cannot be replaced, but his smile is etched in my memory and will be forever.

Sean K. Palmer ’98, G’01
Arlington, Virginia


My condolences to graduates and current students personally affected by this unspeakable act of terrorism. I was still on campus in 1988 when the bombing of Pan Am 103 occurred. I remember the feeling of uselessness, quickly followed by despair and sadness. I personally knew four students on that ill-fated plane. I had the same feelings on September 11, wondering if friends from the classes of ’86 to ’90 were harmed. The Syracuse community is a strong, diverse one that has survived in the past and will do so now and in the years to come. Again, my heart and prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, and while we will never be the same, I believe we will unite as a nation, defeat these terrorists, and become stronger.

James DiMeo ’90
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

John Trever ’65
Reprinted by permission of the Albuquerque Journal


The images of the tragedy still haunt us. The expressions of sorrow and support to the United States that we are seeing in Brazil in the last days have no precedent in history. I am sure that the United States will have the support of the entire free world to chase those criminals. Terrorism must be stopped. I am sure that American power and leadership will be successful in this mission.

Dr. Antonio Campos
Curitiba, Brazil

I am sickened to see Laura Rockefeller on the list of victims. Although I did not know her well, my memories of her are more powerful than almost anyone else I knew at Syracuse. In the time I spent with her (interviewing her for a magazine writing class assignment), she shared with me some of the most profound and powerful ideas anyone has ever said to me—especially anyone of my own age. Laura had poise, a sensibility, and a solid and realistic sense of self. I have thought of her many times over the years, and the personal philosophies she shared with me about making one’s way in the world have been a source of strength to me time and again. I can only hope that the 20 years since the time I met her were fulfilling and happy ones for her, and that she was able to touch other lives the way she did mine.

Patti Schuldenfrei ’81
Chicago, Illinois

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