Hartnell College holds ceremony to commemorate 9/11

Publish Date: 
Sep 12, 2018
Hartnell College business instructor Peter Calvert speaks Sept. 11, 2018, during a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in the Hartnell Student Center.

SALINAS, Calif. – At 11 a.m. on Sept. 11, Hartnell College students, staff and faculty paused in the campus Student Center to consider the enduring impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.


The Remembrance Ceremony, which began with the national anthem and featured solemn remarks, was an opportunity for students to reflect on events that many were too young to understand when they occurred 17 years ago.


Dr. Willard Lewallen, superintendent/president of the Hartnell Community College District, said such an observance is a reminder “that there are still individuals out there who remain focused on destroying the American way of life” and “of the act of profound cowardice and evil that took the lives of thousands of innocent souls.”


“Today, we remember those souls – simply caught by place and time – and the police officers, firefighters, medical personnel, volunteers and other first responders who lost their lives trying to save others,” Dr. Lewallen stated.


The college’s sixth annual ceremony recognized the coordinated attacks by the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda in which hijacked commercial airliners struck the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Another commercial flight, United Flight 93, crashed in rural Pennsylvania as passengers and crew sought to thwart the terrorists on board. Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day, and tens of thousands more have fallen ill or died from exposure to ash and dust from the attacks, including many first responders.


Another speaker at the Hartnell event was Peter Calvert, a business instructor and Vietnam veteran who underscored how 9/11 led directly or indirectly to wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as well as spurring rigid security for air travelers.


“We have people traveling who don’t remember when Americans could go to an airport, plunk down cash and buy a plane ticket to go anywhere in the world – and now they can’t carry more than three ounces of shampoo on board,” Calvert said.


Hartnell Governing Board member Candi DePauw also spoke, thanking organizers and approximately 50 members of the campus community who attended. The anthem was sung by Hartnell College Choir member Haxdia Rivera, a digital arts major from Salinas.


In concluding the half-hour program, Director of Student Affairs Augustine Nevarez encouraged attendees to view a display that included photos, a timeline of the attacks and a video about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on the site of the World Trade Center.


Students preparing to become first responders themselves, as emergency medical technicians, gathered for a group photo beneath a banner that said “We Will Never Forget.” On the banner were names of all 9/11 victims.


Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920


The Hartnell CCD serves more than 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare and athletics. Hartnell College is growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.