Colgate Should Remember

Colgate Should Remember

Henrik Temp

With Colgate’s presidential elections coming up, I have taken a look at the candidates’ platforms, as I always do, and found something encouraging. Amidst the stale campaign slogans I’ve been hearing since my first SGA election three years ago, Max Weiss and Chris Moy’s call for the construction of a 9/11 memorial is like a breath of fresh air. As important as our SGA presidential elections are, I’m tired of hearing all the candidates repeat the same mottos and slogans from year to year while never proposing anything new or substantive. The Max & Chris ticket’s decision to include a Colgate 9/11 memorial is a refreshing change in our presidential elections and, frankly, is long overdue.

17 Colgate alumni and relatives of Colgate alumni died on 9/11. Considering the deep impact that event had on our nation, I for one believe it is high time we did something to remember them. 9/11 was an event with massive repercussions for the entire world. Not only did it kill nearly 3,000 American civilians (the greatest number of Americans killed by a foreign power in a single day, ever), it was the immediate cause of the Afghan War, the Patriot Act and the US’ decision to invade Iraq. Indeed, most of this decade has been defined by 9/11 and its aftermath. Creating a 9/11 memorial to honor our dead alumni and alumni relatives would be a powerful way to remind our community that these repercussions are not just stories on the news: they affect our university directly and painfully. It would be a way to penetrate the Colgate bubble and remind our students, faculty and administration that there is a world outside of Broad Street, the Hill and the Jug and that sometimes that world can impose itself on our little corner of paradise in ugly and profound ways. Perhaps most importantly, this is something that simply should be done in a moral sense. Put simply, I believe our university has a duty to respect our alumni and our nation. Building a 9/11 memorial would fulfill both of these responsibilities.

Such a memorial would not be very difficult or expensive to create. It wouldn’t be (and shouldn’t be) large or ostentatious. Instead, it should be a low-key place of reflection that hopefully would make people think and remember as they walked by. Max and Chris haven’t provided a detailed description of what their proposed memorial would look like, but I imagine it would be safe to say that it would at least include the names of those who died and an American flag. And to be honest, nothing else is really required. In my mind’s eye I see a simple flag pole with a plaque at the bottom, nothing more. Creating a plaque and placing down a flag pole can’t be too expensive. If I had my way, the memorial would be placed up the hill, somewhere where it would be easily viewed and not hidden away. Keeping the memorial simple would ensure that it could be placed in a well-visited area and not be disruptive or over-the-top as well as ensure that it would receive at least some attention. Furthermore, keeping it up the hill would encourage people to visit it on the anniversary of the attacks, and I would hope that Colgate might hold some memorial services there in the future.

In the grand scheme of the election Max and Chris’ proposal for a 9/11 memorial probably won’t be the deciding factor in anyone’s vote. As much as I deride the old campaign slogans, I do want printing to remain free and I do want a better, more reliable cruiser and I will probably vote for the candidate I feel will best implement those proposals. However, I feel I must give credit to Max and Chris for daring to talk about something different, especially something which probably won’t win them very many votes. I feel we would be better off with a memorial, that it could bring our campus together, and that we have a duty to our alumni to remember them. And considering that all the tickets are essentially saying the same thing on all the other issues, this proposal might just be the thing which tips my vote in their favor. I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves, but whomever you choose, I hope you will agree with me that Colgate could use such a memorial.