Baha'i News -- Inside Ub

Inside Ub

UB's ceremony last Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks drew several-hundred students and faculty to the Center for the Arts for a program emphasizing diversity and tolerance.

Outside, UB's Muslim student group handed out green-and-yellow ribbons.

Inside the center's theater, a screen above the stage scrolled the names of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and of the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

Leading off the commemoration, Christian Oliver, the Student Association president, urged the audience to heed the words of Founding Father Thomas Paine: "I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection."

After Oliver, the UB Gospel Choir sang two selections, including "I Almost Let Go." One verse reads: "My problems had me down/ Depression weighed me down/ But God held me close/ So I wouldn't let go."

Speakers representing a kaleidoscope of faiths -- Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Bahai, Humanism and Buddhism -- offered prayers of healing.

Nearly every speaker asked God to guide this country and its leaders away from thoughts of revenge and back to peace.

The Muslim speaker, Dr. Othman Shibly, who wore an American flag tie, was forceful in making this point. He condemned the attacks, but said, "Oh God, may we not answer violence and hate with violence and hate.

After the prayers, the Royal Pitches, UB's female a cappella singing group, sang a haunting version of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel."

In his remarks, UB President William R. Greiner recalled the sacrifices of two men, fathers of UB students, who died in the World Trade Center attacks -- Battalion Chief Joseph Farrelly and Howard Selwyn.

Greiner also urged students to remake the world into a place of peace and tolerance.

"Meeting that challenge will be the most fitting memorial for the victims of Sept. 11 and the finest gift that we can present to their families and friends, and to all of humankind," he said.

At the end, a lone bagpiper, playing "Scotland the Brave" on her pipes, and a group of international students carrying their native flags led a procession outside to Buffalo Plaza.

There, next to a bronze buffalo statue, the university dedicated a memorial stone to its 11 known alumni who died in the World Trade Center.

Under a coral blue sky, students and staff walked up to the stone one by one to place white carnations at its base.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com


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