September 11, 2020

Dear CSU Community,

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, events that will always stir feelings of loss and grief. Our hearts go out to all who lost someone that day and whose lives have been forever changed by losses in the wars that followed.

This year I’ve been particularly moved reading and hearing about so many of the planned commemorations that have been rescheduled as virtual or cancelled altogether as a result of the public health precautions associated with COVID-19.

We all have lost a great deal as a direct result of this pandemic. We have lost the daily personal connections that we too often took for granted. Many have lost beloved family members or friends. So what this year’s 9/11 anniversary really brings home to me is the importance of something else we have lost: ceremony.

We rely on ceremonies—from Commencements to weddings to ribbon cuttings to funerals—to help us mark and make memorable the most important moments in our lives. And we do not experience ceremonies alone. We invite others to join us: to celebrate, to mourn, to remember.

We will share ceremonies again, I know, even if somewhat differently. But I hope that today we all take a moment to sit with that loss, which is perhaps a fitting way to commemorate those whom we lost on 9/11/01. We cannot come together in person this year, but we can remember, and we do—together.